February 07, 2014
The Tragedy of Being Born a Girl
Perusing Netflix one lonely evening I came across an interesting documentary called, "Its a Girl." The film addresses the gendercide that is taking place in both India and China and the reasons behind why there are an estimated 200 million girls missing worldwide. Gendercide is the systematic killing of a specific sex. Across the world-it is almost always girls that are the targets of the violence. 'Its a Girl' begins by looking at the cultural practice of the dowry and the high cost of raising girls. Dowries are often called "bride price," its the payment that is given from the bride's family to the groom's family as the price of the marriage. Although the Indian government officially made dowry's illegal, the practice still continues. Across the country women will either have sex determination tests (also illegal) to determine if they are carrying a girl or a boy and then have an abortion if the child is a girl. In the poorer regions of India where ultrasounds and abortions are beyond the means of most, mothers will actually kill their own daughters. One woman who was interviewed admitted to killing multiple daughters and her reasoning was that girls are expensive and that her family would be even poorer if she had not killed the little girls. Boys are seen as the only legitimate source of income for a family and it is the boys that will take care of the parents in their old age. Girls are seen as a drain on the family's resources. China is no better. With the implementation of the one child policy families are constantly aborting girls in order to have their one child be male. The result of the one child policy has created an ever widening gender gap, that by 2020 there will be an extra 35 million men who will never be able to marry. Girls in China are aborted or killed for the same reasons that they are in India. When a girl marries she becomes a part of her husband's family, her family essentially loses all of her income. There is no sexism alive in India or China...its not the reason why girls are targeted for such violence. It is the cultural practices that create the problem. The cultural norm is that girls are not economically beneficial to a family and that boys are the only hope for a safe future.