Raise Your Hand

25th November is celebrated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. At first thought, one can think of only two topics that comprise Violence against Women: domestic violence and rape - and (unfortunately) many times, they happen together. But when you think deeper about it, and realise how prevalent this issue is in our country, across classes, you understand that SEX-SELECTIVE ABORTION IS VIOLENCE TOO!

It is the first (and the last) experience of violence for many unborn girl children. Their sex is illegally detected and they breathe their last even before their first cry. And it's not just an act of brutal violence against the child, but the mother as well, as her body goes through the unnatural process of abortion, which, in many instances, is absolutely against her will, and wreaks havoc on her physical and mental health.

And this heinous and diabolical practice of SEX-SELECTIVE ABORTION is what ADF India's Vanishing Girls campaign advocates and fights against.

Here's what Vanishing Girls is asking you to do through the 16 days between 25th Nov & 10th December to raise awareness about SEX-SELECTIVE ABORTION as violence against women.

We want you to get on your social media network, on IG, reels, FB, WhatsApp statuses, and #RAISEYOURHAND.
Raising one's hand is not just a metaphor for violence, but a way of voicing your opinion.

SO FOLLOW THESE STEPS
1. Draw an orange female icon symbol on your hand (Orange is UN's colour of choice for the observance) or us this Instagram filter
2. Get creative with what reel you choose to show that symbol: take on any trend that's floats your boat (we're sending some references)
3. Post it on IG, FB using #RaiseYourHand
4. Tag @Save_Our_VanishingGirls, and we'll repost your content

How Uttar Pradesh's Proposed Law Would Impact The Birth Of Girls

August 2021

The northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh recently announced that it would enact the Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Bill, 2021, which is purportedly aimed at addressing the issue of overpopulation. However, such a law, if enacted, would undoubtedly have a fatal impact on baby girls in the state. 

The draft Bill proposes to bar people with over two children from contesting local body elections, applying for, and getting promotion in government jobs and availing government subsidies, including government food rations at subsidized rates. Similar laws and policies also exist in eight other Indian states namely Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Uttarakhand. 

However, far from making development accessible to all citizens of India, such coercive laws and polices can result increased sex-selective abortion and female infanticide, given the deep-rooted and overwhelming preference for male children.  

A 2020 study by Nirmala Buch, a former senior IAS officer, found that the adoption of a two-child policy by states for panchayat elections resulted in a rise in sex-selective abortions; men divorced their wives to run for local body elections and families even gave up children for adoption to avoid disqualification in the election.

Situation in Uttar Pradesh

The state of Uttar Pradesh already has very poor child sex ratios.

As per the 2011 Census, Uttar Pradesh’s sex ratio for the overall population is 902 girls for every 1000 boys. As the per the Sample Registration System Statistical Report 2017 (SRS) released by the Census office in 2019, the child sex ratio had dropped to a dismal 878 girls for every 1000 boys in the state. 

A 2020 study by academicians from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia predicted that highest deficits in female births will occur in Uttar Pradesh, with a cumulative number of missing female births of 2 million from 2017 to 2030.

The introduction of coercive measures will only increase this number exponentially.

By penalizing the birth of additional children, such population control policies will result in families taking extreme measures to ensure the birth of a son, including choosing sex-selective abortions.

This is apparent in even the suggestions received by the UP law commission, that permission be granted to have more than two children if the two children are daughters. These suggestions from the public clearly reveals the bias that exists against female children. 

A 2021 article in the Lancet, noted that “...sex-selective abortion appeared to be more pronounced for third-order births than for second-order births after an earlier daughter or daughters. Sex-selective abortion continued to be more common in richer and more educated families than in poorer and less educated families, in contrast to differences in childhood survival and health-care access. The main determinant of missing female births in second-order and third-order births was an earlier daughter or daughters.” 

The Way Forward 

Researchers have repeatedly highlighted the need to strengthen policies that advocate for gender equity to counter the rise in sex selective abortions. To overall social development and a better standard of living, especially for the women, the governments should instead focus of education, ensuring no child marriages, access to contraceptives, and opportunities for employment for men and women.  

However, for real change in the culture each of us need to ensure that we pledge to save our #VanishingGirls by giving them LIFE – Love, Inheritance, Freedom and Equality.

We invite you to join the Vanishing Girls Campaign by signing the Pledge and supporting our work to bring legal awareness to women.

True Independence for Girls in India

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently released the State of the World Population 2020 report which drew attention to 19 forms of human rights violation against women and girls, one of which is son-preference resulting in sex selection. According to the report, one in three girls missing globally due to gender-biased sex selection is from India — 46 million out of the total 142 million missing girls. The number of girls missing due to female foeticide reflect the deep-rooted bias against daughters and the poor status of girls in the country.

“It should be shocking but it isn't that while 5 lakh COVID-19 deaths worldwide is causing such a furore, there is not a word on 460 lakh deaths of girls in the country”.

Kamla Bhasin, Social scientist and activist 

Tomorrow, India celebrates its 74th Independence Day. We can be proud of how far we have come as a nation. The Constitution of India resolved to assure the dignity of every individual and to secure to all its citizens:  JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; and EQUALITY of status and of opportunity. We have, as a sovereign republic, delivered on several of these constitutional promises. However, even today, women and girls in India suffer the effects of son-preference, sex-selective abortion and other rigid patriarchal norms. 

The Vanishing Girls Campaign pledge to #giveherLIFE - Love, Inheritance, Freedom, and Equality is aimed at realizing true independence for girls in India. 

Love: Every girl has the right to be born into the world and be loved and cherished just as sons are. The progress of our country would not have been possible without the contribution of women and girls. From the freedom struggle movement to the current COVID-19 pandemic, India’s daughters have been at the forefront, developing and supporting the country hand-in-hand with men. Daughters are no less than sons, and they deserve equal love, care and respect.

Inheritance: The right to inheritance is imperative for the empowerment of women and girls. India’s Child Sex Ratio continues to drop because girls are seen as an economic burden. The right to inheritance is linked to the value of daughters. Recently, in a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court of India held that a daughter will have an equal share in the family property after the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005. “Daughters must be given equal rights as sons. Daughter remains a loving daughter throughout life. The daughter shall remain a coparcener throughout life, irrespective of whether her father is alive or not”, stated Justice Arun Mishra. This is an important step towards securing equal inheritance rights for women.

Freedom: A patriarchal society like ours gives most of the decision making power to men in households, in communities and even in governments. This practice in turn suppresses women and girls to stereotypical gender roles, thereby withholding their independence. They are discouraged from speaking their minds or showing leadership skills, and limited by the dangers of a crime-ridden society. In our work with the campaign, we have even seen mothers being forced to abort their daughters against their will. 

Equality: Gender bias and inequality meted out to women and girls across the country have resulted in unequal access to resources and opportunities for them. By placing nearly half the population at a disadvantage, India will only hinder its own growth. 

There is an urgent need for policy initiatives to bring gender parity in our society. More than ever, we need to stand with women and girls to guarantee their fundamental rights, as provided by the Constitution, so that they can enjoy true freedom in India.

ADF India, through its Vanishing Girls campaign, aims to eradicate sex-selective abortion in our lifetime and save the lives of thousands of girls who are killed in the womb every day. We are advocating for the strict enforcement of the Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994.

On July 4, 2020, the Delhi Government’s Health and Family Welfare Department inducted Mrs. Tehmina Arora, Director, ADF India, in the Advisory Committee for District Level Appropriate Authorities under the PCPNDT Act. 

Sign the pledge to #giveherLIFE

#GiveHerLIFE Online Photography Contest 2019 - Winning Entries

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:

Grand Winner 📸 UDAYAN SANKAR PAL, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
"This image is a story. Almost an essay in one photo, Youth and old age showed in one frame in such a beautiful way. A great positive message. Love the composition, the colors, the subjects, the play of age and playfulness with the animals in hand."
Contest Judge @riddhi_parekh on the photo
Second Place Winner 📸 RATHIN DEY, Santipur, West Bengal
"An ember sparked will softly glow, and fed by fuel, will grow and grow.
I once was cinder, sparked by courage.
First timid, till the flames grew and grew."
Third Place Winner 📸 MOHAMMAD ANAS, Delhi
With 7000 girls aborted every day in the country because of sex-selection, India ranks 4th in the world with the worst child sex ratio. This genocide of girls remain hushed, silenced and ignored despite these alarming data proving how to this day girls are unwanted in the country. Where is the outrage? Where is the uproar?
Consolation Prize Winner 📸 ANAND SUBRAMANIAN, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Let them live, Let them thrive: Girls are the future of our country. This meaningful photo captures this lovely school girl in a backdrop forming the colors of our national flag.

#giveherLIFE - Celebrating the Girl Child

campaign giveherlife, international day of the girl

To get free passes to the event: REGISTER HERE.

Since 2012, October 11 has been marked as the International Day of the Girl by the United Nations. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. 

This year, Vanishing Girls Campaign marks the occasion by celebrating the girl child at Dilli Haat, Opposite INA Market, New Delhi on the theme #giveherLIFE (LIFE: Love, Inheritance, Freedom, Equality) on Friday, October 11, 2019 from 5 PM onwards

The celebration will include musical performances by Zephyr, the acapella society of Kamla Nehru College and Swaranjali, the Indian music society and the band of Hansraj College, Delhi University. Asmita theatre, one of the leading Hindi theatre groups in the country will also awaken the audience on the issue of sex-selective abortions in India.

To join us in this celebration and to get free passes to the event: REGISTER HERE.