About the issue - India's Missing Girls
In the last two decades in India, 5 crore girls did not survive past the age of 6. It's high time we stopped tolerating this.
When the 2011 Census of India revealed that we only had 919 girls to every 1000 boys, it shook everyone. It is a record that is the worst since Independence. The rate of decline in the decades since the 90’s, often touted as one of high growth, has been the steepest of all; by 31 points. In absolute numbers, 7000 girls go missing every day in India. Urban or rural, rich or poor, preference for a son over a daughter is frighteningly pervasive in our society. But it is the rampant misuse of ultrasound centers, and now fertility clinics, in determining the sex of the foetus and the subsequent elimination of girls is believed to be most important cause of this steep fall. Advances in science and technology, originally meant to provide appropriate health care to expectant mothers, are being manipulated to satisfy this desire for a son. Availability of cheap technology, but most of all complicity of authorities has allowed this flourishing illegal practice to permeate into rural areas as well, turning this into a national crisis.
It is important to recognize that the dismal Child-Sex-Ratio (number of girls to every 1000 boys between the age brackets of 0-6 years) is yet another brutal manifestation of the larger system of patriarchy combined with the unbridled culture of greed.However, it is time we moved beyond merely acknowledging this issue. Time has now come to make the government, its institutions even more accountable while also awakening the collective conscience of this society to act upon all forms of injustice.
The Pre-Conception Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) ACT, 1994 makes sex-selection illegal in India. Yet we have many utrasonography clinics performing this with impunity. We are working to make monitoring bodies at district levels accountable through RTI, sting operations and media support.
Every year, we support events such as carnivals across India, where school and college students and others participate and pledge to take this issue to their homes, schools and office locations. You too can join in or create your own carnival. Register with your details.
Gram Sabhas and Urban Local bodies are being persuaded to take concrete steps in recognising the rights of women and girls as human rights. Most of these Gram Sabhas are now passing resolutions, pledging to make gender equality a lived reality.
In states where there are no formal policies for expectant mothers, baby girls and young women, we are working with the governments (or policy makers) to formulate an informed and gender sensitive state policy to support them. We are also closely working with various State institutions in strengthening other related laws on Dowry, Violence against Women, Land Rights and Property rights for women.
State-wise number of Gram Sabhas that has passed resolutions to take concrete steps in recognizing the rights of women and girls as human rights; and pledging to make gender equality a lived reality