India has 21 million 'unwanted' girls

By AFP
Published: January 29, 2018
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Girls are often viewed as a financial burden in this country where the tradition of giving a marriage dowry persists. PHOTO: REUTERS

Girls are often viewed as a financial burden in this country where the tradition of giving a marriage dowry persists. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI: The desire of Indian parents for sons has created an estimated 21 million “unwanted” girls because couples keep having children until they produce a boy, the government said Monday.

Indian parents have historically wanted sons, who are seen as breadwinners and family heirs. Girls are often viewed as a financial burden in a country where the tradition of giving a marriage dowry persists.

Even though sex selection is against the law, illegal gender-based abortions have been blamed for a sex ratio of 940 females for every 1,000 males in the last census.

Pretty dresses are no longer just for women

But many couples continued having children until they produced their desired number of sons, the government said in its annual economic survey report.

“Families where a son is born are more likely to stop having children than families where a girl is born. This is suggestive of parents employing ‘stopping rules’ — having children till a son is born and stopping thereafter,” it said.

Couples, particularly women, in India face immense pressure to produce male children and many rural families do not send girls to school, marrying them off young.

Ignoring girls’ education in Sindh

But the report said India’s preference for sons appeared  “inoculated to development”, with even wealthier families not immune.

Illegal sex selection and gender-based abortions remain rampant across social and economic groups in the country, according to several studies.

A 2011 study in the British medical journal The Lancet found that up to 12 million girls had been aborted in the last three decades in India.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Jan 29, 2018 - 8:11PM

    The government orphanage should help in these matters. take in these girls , educate them , put them back in society as assets . Recommend

  • tatvavetta
    Jan 29, 2018 - 9:28PM

    This is a great news about India and how different from Pakistan.Pakistan needs more girls to make Malala ,Baloch Quandil,Sabeen Mahmud ,and Benazil Bhuto out of them.A man raped and murdered an eight-year-old girl Zanaib and then dumped her body in rubbish.
    And of course the brother of a teenage girl in Quetta has confessed to her rape and murder on Monday. What are Governments in India and Pakistan are doing about this? India has a education campaign for parents ,for boys and girls,and special privilege of free education for all girl child.Results will show shortly. What is Pakistan government doing?Recommend

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