A Country Without Balance — What the Trend of Declining Child Sex Ratio Could Mean for India in 2031
In this issue, we explore what India could look like in 2031 if we fail to protect the lives of unborn girls.
A widespread preference for sons, combined with easy access to illegal sex-selective abortions, has led to a significant imbalance in the ratio of boys to girls born in India. According to the latest government census, the Child Sex Ratio, which shows the number of girls per 1000 boys between the ages 0-6, plunged down to 918 for India in 2011 from 927 in 2001.
Recently, during the Coronavirus lockdown period, the government inexplicably suspended some key provisions of the PCPNDT (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Rules, 1996. This decision put the lives of thousands of unborn girls at risk. India cannot afford such lapses.
“The decreasing Child Sex Ratio has a cascading effect on population over a period of time leading to diminishing Sex Ratio in the country,” explains the Census of India website, “one thing is clear—the imbalance that has set in at the early age group is difficult to be removed and will remain to haunt the population for a long time to come.”
The declining Child Sex Ratio sabotages the development of our country as women contribute strongly to the economic upliftment of India. Imagine large proportions of the productive population missing ten years from now because girls were not even allowed to be born!
Scarcity of Brides
The growing disparity between the number of boys and girls born will have serious social implications. It will become more difficult for men, wanting to get married, to find a bride by 2031. In the coming decades, the number of men who can’t find brides in India could reach 40 million.
In the book ‘Too Many Men, Too Few Women’, Ravinder Kaur speaks about this ‘marriage squeeze’. Through empirical work and ethnographic accounts by well-known sociologists, economists and demographers, this book maintains that due to the economic, social, moral and psychological importance of marriage in Indian societies, the "shortage of brides" has become one of the most significant negative impacts of the sex ratio imbalance.
Increase in Violence
Gender imbalance will have dangerous repercussions to the security and stability of our society. Studies repeatedly link regions with high sex-ratios in favor of men to instances of increase in violence, sexual exploitation of women, enforced prostitution and other forms of gender-based violence. The impending “marriage squeeze” will amplify evils like bride trafficking and polyandry.
Failure in Achieving Gender Equality
A country without balance is a country without equality. Gender equality is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that the United Nations aims to achieve by 2030.
“Son preference is first and foremost about gender discrimination and violations of women’s and girls' human rights,” says Luis Mora, a UNFPA human rights expert. Failure to bring balance in our Child Sex Ratio would mean failure in achieving Gender Equality for our girls.
Ms. Ravinder Kaur, a noted professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology at IIT-Delhi, has said that the consequences of skewed sex ratios are likely to be felt even more than twenty years down the line.
Improving the status of women and girls and preventing the systematic erasure of our daughters should be a national priority.
Webinar On Increasing Violence Against Women And Children During Lockdown
To address the 'Increasing Violence against Women and Children during Lockdown', ADF India's Vanishing Girls Campaign is presenting a Legal Response webinar featuring Ms. Aparna Bhat, Advocate on Record, Supreme Court of India.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 4:00 - 5:00 pm Followed by half an hour of Q&A
Signature Campaign To Demand The Immediate Reinstatement Of PCPNDT Rules
In response to the the sudden and inexplicable suspension of Rule 8, Rule 9(8) and Rule 18A (6) of the PCPNDT (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Rules, 1996 on April 4, 2020, ADF India's Vanishing Girls Campaign launched an oline petition seeking the reinstatement of the suspended rules. Close to 1200 petitioners signed the campaign to save vanishing girls. ADF India submitted the petition on May 7, 2020 to the Hon'ble Union Minister, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. We are currently awaiting an appointment with the Minister to share our concerns in greater detail.
So, it was Daughters Day on 22 September and honestly, I did not expect my father to even remember it, let alone post something on Instagram (yes, my father is on Instagram and sometimes it is embarrassing but most times it is cute to see him learn things about what he calls “modern day technology”).
I opened my Instagram this morning to find that my father had posted a picture of him, with my sister and I, and a caption that read “Daughters Day. Blessings of God.”
My eyes welled up a bit.
My father has always been very proud of his two daughters, and I have often heard him tell people that he is glad God gave him girls. His heart swells with happiness every time he does. But this was something I was not expecting, and I will tell you why. Since my father is just learning about Instagram and usually takes help from my sister or me when posting or adding stories, he took the effort to do this one on his own! And that adds so much more to the weight of how special I feel right now.
It is the best feeling to know that your parents put effort to show you that you are loved and cherished, especially when you are a girl in India. Many times, we get so caught up with our busy lives that we forget to pause, to look around, to ponder, to be thankful, to cherish our children, OUR DAUGHTERS. We see them as a burden and not a blessing and that’s the most hurtful thing a daughter could ever go through – feeling unloved and unwanted because of no fault of her own.
There is a need to spread awareness on the reality of sex-selective abortions in India. Killing the girl child in the womb has become so common that people treat it as something normal.
HOW IS THIS NORMAL?!
I am blessed to have parents who have always sacrificially given their daughters everything they needed to get to where they are right now. My sister and I enjoy wonderful lives in India’s best cities with great jobs. We are so grateful that we have parents who nurtured us with love, respect, freedom and courage. They never wished they had boy children instead of us.
But not all girls feel the same way. They do not get the opportunity. It is important that girl children feel loved and cared for; that they are treated well and grow up to be confident and brave, pursuing their dreams.
Make daughters feel special. Not just on Daughter’s Day, but every day.
Because they deserve it. Right?
WINNING PHOTOS OF THE #GIVEHERLIFE ONLINE PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST 2019
For this year's International Day of the Girl Child on 11th October, the Vanishing Girls Campaign commemorated the occasion by launching a nationwide online photography competition. The Vanishing Girls Campaign invited all photographers (amateur and professional) to participate in this contest to bring awareness to the cause of the Girl Child.
The theme of the Contest was:#giveherLIFE (Love, Inheritance, Freedom, Equality). The jury consisted of five reputed professional photographers: Karan Khanna, Altaf Qadri, William Chang, Riddhi Parekh and Paromita Chatterjee.
The Contest received over 500+ entries from across the country. The winning images appropriately reflects the consideration the photographers have put in for their respective entries. We appreciate the generous support of all those who participated in the contest to contribute to the cause through their photographs. There were eight winners selected. The first, second and third winners received a cash prize of ₹15,000/-, ₹10,000 and ₹5,000/- respectively. Five consolation prize winners were awarded a cash prize of ₹1,000 each. Find the winning entries below:
PANEL OF JUDGES: #GIVEHERLIFE ONLINE PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST
PANEL OF JUDGES: #GIVEHERLIFE - The Vanishing Girls Campaign is commemorating the occasion by launching a nationwide online photography competition. The Vanishing Girls Campaign invites all photographers (amateur and professional) to participate in this contest and bring awareness to the cause of the Girl Child