Why India’s latest sex ratio of 1021 girls per 1000 boys is only a partial win

The latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) data for 2019-21 indicates that India has more females than males (1021 females per 1000 males), but ironically, also points towards a slightly improved yet dangerously skewed sex ratio at birth – 929 females per 1000 males. 

The report also highlights that the states of Jharkhand (899), Telangana (894), Odisha (894), Haryana (893), Rajasthan (891), Tamil Nadu (878), Himachal Pradesh (875), Goa (838), Chandigarh (838), and Daman & Diu (817) show fewer than 900 girls being born for every 1000 boys. Kerala shows the sharpest decline with respect to sex ratio at birth – falling 96 points from a robust 1047 girls per 1000 boys in 2015-16 to 951 in 2019.  

While it is a commonly known fact that naturally, more males are born than females in the human species, the sizeable gap between the number of boys and girls born in India clearly points towards the prevalence of the practice of sex-selective abortion. Couple that with the decline in India’s Total Fertility Rate, and we may face even fewer girls being both conceived and born.  

India has implemented the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 that has illegalised sex-selection, both before and after conception. This Act, although a step in the right direction, is by no means enough by itself to curb this inhuman practice.  

Law and Culture must work together to make people realise the morbid future that female foeticide will plunge the nation into, and ensure that this evil is eradicated not only in practice, but from people’s mindset. Then only, will every Girl Child conceived will be guaranteed L.I.F.E. (Love, Inheritance, Freedom, Equality). Then only will the country truly enjoy stability and development in all aspects. 

Raising awareness is critical right now.  

To combat the evil of sex-selective abortion, ADF India’s Vanishing Girls campaign works with several like-minded allies, state government bodies, public prosecutors, legal and civic bodies, social activists, medical professionals and ASHA workers to provide legal support as well as training to ensure relevant laws are effectively implemented to protect the women and the unborn girl child. 

Our training focuses on:  

Our legal experts would be glad to collaborate with you and organise free legal trainings for your organisation, church group, school, college, etc. to raise awareness about sex-selective abortion and empower the attendees in taking a strong stand against it.  

To know more about organising trainings with Vanishing Girls, you could:  

Read more about our past trainings here.

In a society where raising girls is considered ‘a lot of work’, we must not shy away from the hard work necessary to ensure L.I.F.E. to her

The year was 1973. Some elders of a nomadic Rajasthani community considered the situation of a ‘sapera’ (snake-charmer) who was away for work, and his wife, who lay unconscious after giving birth to a baby girl – the seventh child of the family. They decided that the girl (born only a few hours ago) would be ‘a lot of work’. So, rather than giving her her rightful place at her mother’s bosom, they saw it fit to dig a hole and bury her alive. 

But the girl was rescued, and she survived. Her father fought for his daughter’s right to live, and readily chose to be abandoned by the community. The girl went on to take the folk-dance tradition of the Kalbaliya community to the world stage.

In 2016, Gulabo Sapera was awarded the coveted Padma Shri for her art. She brought recognition to the same community that didn’t see any value in her! 

Gulabo was fortunate that her parents, especially her father, were supportive in the face of a society that considers girls as ‘a lot of work’. But there are many who are not that fortunate and neither find support nor find the L.I.F.E (Love, Inheritance, Freedom, and Equality) that they deserve. 

The statistics are staggering, and yet there has been little to no reduction in the number of sex-selective abortions in the country. A 2021 ToI article pegged the number of convictions under the PCPNDT Act as only 614 over the past quarter of a century!  

Meanwhile, the girl child continues to suffer the consequences of being considered a liability and a burden to her family in our society, even before she is born. 

To combat the evil of sex-selective abortion, ADF India’s Vanishing Girls campaign works with several like-minded allies, state government bodies, public prosecutors, legal and civic bodies, social activists, medical professionals and ASHA workers to provide legal support as well as training to ensure acts have been implemented to protect the Girl Child are implemented effectively and adhered to strictly. 

Our training focuses on: 

Our legal experts would be glad to collaborate with you and organise free legal trainings for your organisation, church group, school, college, etc. to raise awareness about sex-selective abortion and empower the attendees in taking a strong stand against it. 

To know more about organising trainings with Vanishing Girls, you could: 

Read more about our past trainings here: vanishinggirls.in/trainings/ 

Dear Fathers, your daughters inherit more than genes from you

17 June, 2022

We’ve all heard it – children attributing talents, temperament, mannerisms and physical features to their fathers. While reading this, many of you might even be led to think about all the things you have inherited from your father. That’s how we have been created. But inheritances are not just limited to facial, physical and behavioral legacy. The one we want to draw your attention to, on the occasion of Father’s Day, is legal legacy, or legal inheritance. 

The Indian Constitution guarantees gender equality before the law. Article 15 prevents the state from discriminating against any citizen of India or violating their equal rights on the basis of race, caste, religion, class, or sex etc. This equality cannot be achieved if women and girls are not economically independent. The right to inheritance is an important agency that empowers women and girls to secure this independence.  

India does not have any uniform law regarding property ownership and inheritance rights of women, which means the law in matters pertaining to inheritance and sharing of property differs for people from different faiths. 

Equal property rights of sons and daughters were recognised after the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 which stated that a daughter will have equal ownership in her father’s property even after she gets married. Prior to the amendment, daughters could only be ‘members’, not ‘coparceners’ (individuals who have a legal right to their ancestral property by birth). While coparceners could ask for partition and share of the property, members couldn’t. Once the daughter gets married, she stops being a member and therefore she loses her right to the share and maintenance of her father’s property. 

Landmark Judgements  

In many families across the country, strong patriarchal traditions have translated into fear of violence by their male relatives, preventing women from fighting for their inheritance rights. It has been 18 years since the amendment of The Hindu Succession Act (2005), but a lot of women, even educated ones, are in the dark about their inheritance rights.  

Here are 3 things every father/parent can do now to safeguard their daughter’s inheritance: 

  1. Stay informed on the different laws that apply to you as per your faith or custom 
  1. Draft a will. It is the best way to pass on assets. While nominations help in transferring movable assets like bank deposits or insurance policies, a will takes legal precedence over a nomination. Get a probate, if required, as it’s needed in some states 
  1. Talk to your daughter, as well as many others, about their inheritance rights. Spreading awareness about these rights is extremely important 

ADF India’s Vanishing Girls campaign is calling for proactive efforts by the Centre and state governments to enforce every daughter’s right to inheritance. Let’s move towards a future where daughters can freely claim their legal inheritance just as they claim other inheritances from you. 

YouTube disables DIY sex-determination videos after ADF India allied lawyers intervene 

Updated on 18 May, 2022 

Three months ago, YouTube took down several videos promoting gender-biased sex-selection after ADF India allies intervened. 

Targeted towards Indian married couples, these videos offered information on how to detect the sex of the foetus. It also endorsed and facilitated the indirect sale of gender determination kits/products. 

The fact that YouTube, which is owned by Google, allowed unrestricted streaming of content on gender-biased sex selection stands in clear violation of the Supreme Court orders in the case of Sabu Mathew George v. Union of India, (2018) 3 SCC 229

These videos further enable the viewers to gain information to circumvent the legislative intent underlying the restrictions of Section 22 of the PCPNDT Act, 1994

Addressing these issues, ADF India allied lawyers worked on a written complaint with Girls Count, one of ADF India’s Vanishing Girls campaign partners, and submitted it to Ms. Vidushi Chaturvedi, Former Director, Department of Health & Family Welfare on 12 December, 2020. The same was brought to the notice of the Nodal Agency, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi via email on 6 January, 2021. Subsequently, pursuant to the above, the Nodal Agency had sought clarifications from Google’s legal team. They responded to the complaints with clarifications via email on 7 February, 2022 and a few videos were accordingly disabled access from the country domain. 

However, some of these YouTube videos still continue to circulate in contempt of the guidelines of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Additionally, e-commerce websites such as Amazon and Dessertcart also advertise similar sex determination products, ready to be shipped in India.  

ADF India allied lawyers are working on a formal complaint to the Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare requesting to file a contempt towards the online content violations, against the Supreme Court orders in the case of Sabu Mathew George v. Union of India, (2018) 3 SCC 229, on behalf of the Ministry of State for Health and Family Welfare to ensure that the mandate of the PCPNDT Act, 1994 is scrupulously followed.   

LEGAL AID AND PREGNANCY HELPLINE 

ADF India provides free legal assistance through our panel of allied lawyers to women whose unborn girl children face in any way a hindrance to L.I.F.E (Love, Inheritance, Freedom, Equality). To know more, please visit www.adfindia.org/legal-aid.  

You may also call the pregnancy helpline at 0444 631 4300 or visit www.pregnancyhelpline.in 

SUPPORT  

We invite you to join us in our efforts to eradicate sex-selection in our lifetime and save the lives of thousands of girls who are aborted every day. To support our work, donate here

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Vanishing Girls is a campaign initiated by ADF India to raise awareness against the practice of sex-selective abortions and to advocate for effective implementation of the Pre Conception Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994. 

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

#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.