– The Department of Women and Child Development, India.As a nodal Ministry for the advancement of women and children, the Ministry formulates plans, policies and programmes; enacts/ amends legislation, guides and coordinates the efforts of both governmental and non-governmental organisations working in the field of Women and Child Development.  – Asha for Education is a secular organization dedicated to change in India by focusing on basic education in the belief that education is a critical requisite for socio-economic change.

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While the urban girl child is still at a disadvantage, her rural counterpart has some ray of hope. Nearly 19.70% rural mothers favour education for their daughters than 7.22 % in cities. This survey was conducted by the Woman and Child Welfare Department in north India.

Underprivileged girl child education in India : Even 86% of the rural fathers felt education would help girls to gain knowledge but only 72.22% of urban fathers felt that education would be good, to get a good life partner! Another startling fact discovered was while 37.25% urban girls felt their parents were against their education only 7.14% of rural parents were against education for girls.

Obviously the urban parents seem to be more orthodox in their views. They have a mindset that does not allow the girl child the freedom. This survey was done between the years 2005-06. The urban girls who felt difference in upbringing with her brother was 15.4% and in rural areas it was 8.85%.

The urban girls felt they were cursed more than rural ones for their gender. The only time the urban girls has any advantage is when they opt for love marriage. They have more freedom than the rural girls.
In rural areas the women are more hopeful that education will help their daughters to earn better. The National Plan of Action for the Girl Child has been devised to eradiate gender discrimination, female foeticide and infanticide, protect and rehabilitate the girls, shelter from abuse, violence assault and exploitation.

In 1970 when the contraception was introduced, nearly 90 % of all sterilization was female! In rural areas where there is poverty, there is a thrust on cleanliness and healthcare.
Most women were prone to breast their girls for shorter times than boys. They are eager to get pregnant again. After a boy is born, the thrust is more on looking after the male child. There was a study done in 20 villages of Maharastra by Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP).

All women were trying to survive with insufficient incomes, hard work and lived without basic necessities like food, water and shelter. Nearly 85% of the women workforce was finding it difficult to sustain the family with bare minimum care. For them surviving to see the next day is the biggest challenge.

Status of girl child in india :If a girl child gets sick in the village, the parents expect the illness to pass off naturally. In a rich state like Punjab, medical facilities for boys are 2.3 times higher than girls.  If a girl does grow up there are fewer healthcares facilities for her. India has the highest maternal mortality rates in rural areas worldwide.

If a woman goes through many pregnancies and falls ill, she resorts to home remedies rather than go to a gynaecologist. In Maharastra, about 92% of women suffer from some gynaecological disorder making it difficult for them to have healthy children. The NGOs and government organisations may do their best to educate and take out programs. The parents themselves are making life hell for their little girls.

copyright data 2007.

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“You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women”.
– Jawaharlal Nehru-

In India, goddesses are revered. But, only as idols to be worshipped in the form of Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth), Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge), and Sita (ideal consort of Shri Ram). Once in a way, the form of Durga (killer of evil) or Vaishnodevi (remover of obstacles) puts fear in the Indian male. But that’s about it all.

Despite ‘India Poised’ and ‘India Shining’ 21st century slogans, the country has a shameful record of girl-boy ratio all over the country. Even in educated urban areas where every facility is available, the selective sex tests, female infanticide through pre-natal diagnostics tests families want boys and not girls.

Even today, the stark reality of the ratio of 927-1000 (girl-boy) cannot be ignored. It is staring at the nation, as it claims economy is growing. It is hardly surprising that in North Indian states like Madhya Pradesh, UP, Punjab and Bihar, girls barely have a chance to get born. The womb becomes a tomb for many girls. Census taken for decade of 1991-2001 show the number of female infanticide increased in urban areas of north India. In New Delhi alone the number of middle class homes aborting the female foetus was appalling.

Girl child infanticide in india : In early seventies, prenatal tests to detect abnormalities in the unborn child were introduced in India. But these tests are used more to determine the sex of the child. Educated families have the dilemma of bringing up the girl child even today. The Hindu blessing, ‘May you be a mother of 100 sons’ rings true in every bride’s ears when she is married.
It is when the bride is unable to give the male heir; she is sometimes forced to a life of embarrassment. Pathetic !

Influence of films where the birth of the boy is celebrated with much fervour is an example of India’s social life.  There is no incentive for the girl being born. All the comforts, medicine, healthcare, nutrition and luxuries are reserved for the boys. The girl’s status is second class in urban and rural areas in India.

Girl child at risk in india : A girl child is susceptible to sexual violence very early in life. The threat comes from the girl’s family and relatives. Many of the rape cases against girls registered in India are under the age of ten.  The sex ratio has also declined as every sixth female death is purposely due to gender bias.  Nearly three lakh of girls die every year.

The clinical tests amniocentesis and biopsy reserved for detecting abnormalities are being misused for identifying the gender of the foetus. In small towns and cities girls are being murdered quietly. In 1996, Kuruppayee an unknown woman in Tamil Nadu was the first to be convicted for female infanticide.

Her husband was let of despite abetment. She had strangled her fifth girl child after birth as the husband’s family wanted a son.  Despite the conviction female foetuses are aborted. Can one still say India is shining? If there are no girls how will she become a mother of a hundred sons?

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Traditional role of the girl in Indian society is subservient. Despite that girls have done the country proud. The country had an able Prime Minister in Indira Gandhi. The government has taken conscious steps to nurture and protect the girl child. But the success entirely depends on the citizens. Will they make the womb a tomb for their daughters? The hope for the country lies in giving equals opportunities to boys and girls.
Even after Independence, most families have craved for boys to continue the lineage, bring home the fodder and sustain livelihood for the family. Caste systems never allowed women to bend gender roles. The trouble lies with the interpretation of the ancient texts.

In 200 BC, Manu wrote, ‘In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent’. Since then women have struggled to maintain their lives leave alone have an identity for themselves. In rural areas where poverty is abject, women can barely nourish themselves, even though they comprise of 84% of the working population.
Educating a girl child in India : With government initiatives and NGOs the word is spreading- the need to educate both girls and boys. In rural areas, nearly 65 % of women favour literacy to remove the gender bias. But avoid sending their girls to schools as they are vulnerable to male teachers! In urban areas, girls are deliberately not given proper education. They study just enough to get a decent dowry and become part of the workforce.

In many south Indian states, the girls are studying and getting an opportunity to live. In the north, boys are still coveted. Unless a male foetus is abnormal it is not aborted. A normal female foetus is suffocated and life snuffed out.

With the current economic status in the country undergoing changes, there needs to be a sustained awareness of bringing up the girl child with more care and love. In states of Rajasthan and Gujarat child marriages are common. Barely ten year old girls are wedded and they become pregnant by the age of 16 years. Having become a mother in the age of innocence, it self is against natural live process for a young girl.
Doctors and the Government need to give importance to the girl child. Time and again girls have proved to be supportive of old parents and have nurtured their children into better adults.  This has happened in places where girls and boys are raised together without any gender bias.

Various programs stressing the importance of a healthy child are of paramount importance. Only this way will the country not be bracketed with China, Bangladesh and Pakistan where the incidences of empowering the girl child are non existent. India needs to protect the girls like goddess because when they grow up they do bring Lakshmi (wealth), Saraswati (knowledge), Parvati (power). Being biologically stronger then men they are the future of the country.

copyright data 2007.

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We Indians call our nation mother India and are great devotees of Mother Goddess in various manifestations. But is this devotion and respect for the country restricted to only a few words or do well actually implement these values. No, we all are openly playing a double standard game with our country as well as our Goddess. No one of us can deny the dual character personality of Indians. One end we say that we worship Maa Sarastwati, Maa Durga, Maa Laksmi and at the other end we are continuously destroying the precious gift of nature, a girl child.

The latest and innovative techniques of gender detection have empowered the rate of female foeticide in India. Every mother desires to have abortion if the ultrasound test detects a girl child. Wait a moment…what can you see in the ultrasound? Ten tiny fingers, ten tiny toes, innocent face, ready to come out and feel the beauty of nature and love of mother. Close your eyes and you will hear a sweet voice from within, ‘Mamma’. Will you still abort your unborn girl child? No, you can’t be so cruel, at least not to someone who is a part of you.

Becoming a mother is the greatest gift of God. Treasure this gift regardless of the fact whether you have a baby boy or baby girl. It’s now time to take an initiative to curb the undesirable practice of girl discrimination. Girls must enjoy the right to freedom, right to education and right to birth. They are biologically stronger than boys and must receive adequate nutrition, health care facilities and education. They must be given opportunities to explore themselves and prove their capabilities. As mothers, they are responsible for imparting values, cultural beliefs and manners in their children. Hence, they must be educated spiritually, emotionally and intellectually.
Women are the best players of the society to bring in vigor, harmony, cooperation, humanity and eventually transforming the society into a compassionate and peaceful place to live in.
Every child required nourishment and wise guidance in the early formative years. At this stage, a woman helps her child imbibe the best of good things in life. Lack of education will not only harm the individual development of a child but whole of the nation.
Presently, many harmful characters are misguiding the status of women, resulting in retarded social growth. Rules and regulations must be adopted to improve the status of woman in every state and furthermore result in an overall development of the country

India is one of the few countries where selective sex gender bias exists till today. The onslaught of feminism has not allowed Indian women to revolt against the century old systems. For centuries together women have played their roles of being the provider and sustainers of families without even a thank you note at the end of their lives. It has been proven in India and other countries where ever women have been given freedom they have changed the world and made a better place to live in. Consider these facts:
Education and training helps the woman to hone her talents. She can earn more money. Women have the ability to put the money earned in further education. They also spend the money of better healthcare for children and families. Men on the other hand are spendthrifts. When they earn they spend it on vices and make hell for their families. The economic status of the woman gives her a better social understanding. An educated woman is likely to defend herself better than an illiterate one against men, crimes and abuse. Once she knows her rights she can also approach the courts. Many daring women have taken such recourse to bring men to task.
It is only a woman who understands that weather a male or female child, it should be healthy and given equal status. A woman has the power to end the evil of dowry system also.  As girls are given a chance to live there will be control in population. Families will be small, healthy better educated and happy. Today’s woman has to be given the confidence to live. She will eventually be a balanced mother. The craving for the ubiquitous male heir has to vanish. Discrimination between the male and female child have to end for ever. Educated Indians have to behave responsibly and set an example for one another.
The Ministry for Welfare of Woman and Child in India says, ‘don’t kill your girl child. We will look after her.’ It is an embarrassment for all of us if we fail to protect the rights of the girl child. India has examples of women who have risen from the ashes like phoenix and done the country proud. India can be poised and shining only if the girls are given an opportunity to prove their talents. In education they have been toppers consistently against boys. A girl is like a flower to be nurtured.
She is a goddess to be revered. She is mother earth that sustains the very breath of humanity. How can man even think of killing her in the womb? It is said in the Bhagwat Gita that the karma of the past catches up.  For those who have killed their daughters mercilessly they will go through the same fate. But the woman whose tender heart continues to nurture will still give a chance to evil to redeem. Unless India gives women a chance to survive, it would fail as the world’s largest democracy.

The fact that girls are being murdered quietly after sex determination tests, what can one say of rights of girl child in India? As per UNICEF guidelines the girl child must get equal opportunities to education, medicine, healthcare facilities and workplace.
Although the democratic constitution and laws state there have to be equal and full opportunities, the girl child, if she survives barley gets to see her 15th birthday. Out of the 15 million baby girls born in the country, every year nearly 25% of them do not reach their 15th birthday.

India has been one of the first countries to introduce family planning in 1952. The tragedy lies in the misconception that a male heir is all that is needed. But how many people realise that to have the male heir, a woman is needed to reproduce. Biologically she is the carrier of the child.
In many homes across the country, girls are treated with indifference. Daughters are considered as liabilities. Outside one sex determination clinic in Haryana, it was written, pay Rs. 50 now rather than pay Rs. 50, 000 later (as dowry).

Women have no power themselves even though they have legal recourse. It takes guts for a woman to stand up against her husband, in-laws or parents if she meets with dowry problems or sexual violence.  Child marriages restrict the girls and their rights.

There is malnutrition, poverty, high illiteracy and infant mortality ailing the society today in India. Only 40-50 percent women get antenatal care. In Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharastra, Orrisa and Gujarat the registration for health services for mother and child are low (5-22% in rural) and (21-51% in urban) areas.
A pregnant woman is dependent on the mother-in-law and husband for any treatment that she needs. Atrocities against women has risen. Every 26 minutes a woman is molested. Every 34 minutes a rape takes place. Every 42 minutes a sexual harassment incident occurs. Every 43 minutes a woman is kidnapped. And every 93 minutes a woman is burnt to death over dowry. One-quarter of the reported rapes involve girls under the age of 16 but they are never reported.
The government’s initiative of saving the girl child has started with a ‘palna’ (rocking cradle). It is not a rocking scheme. The NGOs and other agencies working to save the girls from becoming victims of infanticide feel this could be a way that parents who give birth to the girl and leave it in the government’s care! The scheme has sent wrong signals to poor parents! In Tamil Nadu where the scheme started off has not been so successful.
Girl child education in India : The constitution guarantees free primary school education for boys and girls up to 14 years of age. But till today, only 39% of girls and 64% of boys get education in Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. If women teachers were increased chances are that girls in rural areas would continue to study. As girls get enlightened, they will raise better families.

Perseverance and inspiration often leads to privilege but without hard work and dedication they’ll be no success. The hardest profession to take in life is being a girl child. Discrimination and discrepancy are two most important factors that hamper the journey of every female from the earliest stage of life. Starting from her presence into her mother’s womb to infancy, childhood and finally to adulthood, she is outnumbered by the male dominating society of the country.
India is a country where social disadvantage outweighs natural biological advantage of being a girl. A whole range of discriminatory practices including female foeticide, female infanticide, female genital mutilation, son idolization, early marriage and dowry have buried the future of the nation. In India, discriminatory practices have greatly influenced the health and well-being of a girl child, resulting in a higher mortality rate.

It is believed that every year 12 million girls are born in the country but unfortunately only 1/3 of those survive. Some are killed in the womb, some at the time of birth, some die due to ill health and some due to poor nutritional status. Only a few numbers of girls are able to survive till their 15th birthday.
Female feticide and infanticide are the most popular social evils prevailing in the country. This evil is the outcome of poverty, illiteracy and gender discrimination. The country fails to understand, how a mother can be so ruthless and vulnerable.

It is said that God created mothers because He could not be present everywhere. Its unbelievable to realize that a God’s representative is continuously killing someone beautiful even before she can come out and see the beauty of nature.

It’s painful to confess that the trend still exists in various parts of the country. States like Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Punjab are most popular for practicing female foeticide and infanticide.
Poverty, gender discrimination and son preference have also influenced the nutritional status of a girl child. There are almost 75 million malnourished children existing in the country. It is estimated that 75% of the total malnourished children are girls who show signs of chronic and acute malnutrition.
Girls who manage to cross this hard phase of life, gets trapped by the evil society during adolescence and teenage. These are the stages where more nutrition is required for normal growth and development. Unfortunately, nutritional needs are neglected for girls and they are often kept locked within the four walls.
Exacerbate discrimination against female for nutrition and education has led to an increase in child marriage, reduction in fertility rates and population growth, potentially, women’s participation in nurturing the future of every nation.
Improper nutrition during adolescence results in various reproductive health disorders. The effects of these disorders further exacerbates by early marriage, closely spaced pregnancies, poor access to information about family planning, traditional practices, etc.
Girl child is the future of every nation and India is no exception. A little amount of care, a handful of warmth and a heart full of love for a girl child can make a big difference. Close your eyes, free your thoughts and hear the voice of God, He is saying something to all of us, “Save Me”.

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‘How sad, many girls missing from our country are found buried in some graveyard….

India is growing dynamically in every fields. Today, the boom in economy, innovative technologies and improved infrastructure has become nation’s pride. The country has witnessed advancements in all fields but bias against a girl child is still prevailing in the country.

This social evil is deep rooted in Indian ethos and the most shocking fact is that the innovative and hard high end technologies are brutally killing the Indian girl child. Innovative techniques, like biopsy, ultrasound, scan tests and amniocentesis, devised to detect genetic abnormalities, are highly misused by number of families to detect gender of the unborn child. These clinical tests are highly contributing to the rise in genocide of the unborn girl child.

In today’s day and age most couples prefer the process known as a planned pregnancy, because of various factors; prime amongst them being the financial well being to support the birth and nurturing of a child. In such cases, the first prenatal visit actually happens prior to actual pregnancy, to see whether one is ready to go off the contraception pills and conceive a baby.

However, in maximum conceptions, one is unaware of the pregnancy until actual realization dawns after one skips the first menstrual cycle. Normally doctors except ladies to pay their first visit anywhere between the sixth and twelfth week after conception.

Amniocentesis started in India in 1974 to detect fetal abnormalities. These tests were used to detect gender for the first time in 1979 in Amritsar, Punjab. Later the test was stopped by the Indian Council of Medical Research but it was too late. The benefits of these tests were leaked out and people started using it as an instrument for killing an innocent and unborn girl child.  Many of the traditional women organizations also took up cudgels to stop this illegal practice but all failed and with the passage of time these tests became a major contributor to bias against a girl child.

Female feticide and infanticide is not the only issues with a girl child in India. At every stage of life she is discriminated and neglected for basic nutrition, education and living standard. When she was in the womb, she was forced to miss the moment when she was supposed to enter the world. At the time of birth her relatives pulled her back and wrung her neck. After killing her she was thrown into a trash can.

During childhood, her brother was loaded with new shoes, dresses and books to learn while she was gifted a broom, a wiper and lots of tears. In her teenage, she missed tasty delicious food to eat and got only the crumbs. During her college days, she was forced to get married, a stage where illiteracy, lack of education resulted in high fertility rate, aggravating the condition of females in the country. Again if this female gives birth to a girl child, the journey begins once again. She missed all roses of life and was finally fitted to a graveyard. That’s where she got peace of mind.

The nation of mothers still follows a culture where people idolizes son and mourns daughters. UN figures out that about 750,000 girls are aborted every year in India. Abortion rates are increasing in almost 80% of the India states, mainly Punjab and Haryana. These two states have the highest number of abortions every year. If the practice continues, then no longer a day will come when Mother India will have no mothers, potentially, no life.

We all are proud citizens of India. The need of hour is to realize our responsibilities and give a halt to this evil crime. What can we do to curb the brutal and undesirable practice of mass killing girls? A determined drive can initiate a spark to light the lamp and show the world that we all are part of the great Mother India..