Female infanticide is the deliberate killing of a newborn female child by her family. It most commonly happens immediately after birth or within the first year of the girl’s life - by drowning, burying, poisoning, strangulation, or abandonment after birth on road sides and in alleyways, outside temples and churches, and in public bathrooms and garbage cans. Another method of female infanticide is through the deliberate neglect of the girl child by not providing food, essential nutrition, or medical care in the early years of life.
The end result is the same – the girl child does not survive.
With the advent of modern diagnostic technology like ultrasound and amniocentesis, female feticide has replaced female infanticide in bigger cities. Feticide is the deliberate abortion of a female fetus after prenatal sex determination, preventing a girl child from being born. Using these technologies, families try to find out the sex of a child early on so that they can abort the pregnancy and then try for another child; this time a male. Since many countries ban the right to know the sex of a child before birth, this is often done illegally and has become a booming profitable racket.
The United Nations Population Fund estimates that 200 million females are demographically “missing” from the world today. The term "missing" was coined by economist Amartya Sen to refer to girls who should have been born or grown up but were killed by infanticide or sex-selective abortion. In terms of sheer scale, female gendercide has claimed more victims than World War I and II combined, all the genocides of the 21st century, AIDS, the flu epidemics, and malaria. It creates a mountain of corpses equal to the Jewish Holocaust every 3 years.
Gendercide constitutes one of the largest human rights violations the world has ever seen. It denies a girl her most fundamental right - The right to life. The practice tears at the very fabric of liberty by denying equal protection under the law to one half of the population – one that is unable to defend itself.
Gendercide happens against a victim who is voiceless and defenseless. We must to do our bit to stop this practice, no matter where we live. Gender equality lies at the very heart of each country’s successful progress and development. The global crisis of “missing” girls is a tragedy of lost potential - it is the loss of the girl child in society simply because she happens to be a girl.
PREVALENCE OF GENDERCIDE
Female gendercide is predominantly prevalent in South and East Asian countries, particularly India and China, which are two of the world's most populous countries. It is also seen in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cyprus, and Qatar; in Albania and Liechtenstein in Eastern Europe; the post-Soviet countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia; as well as countries on the African continent including Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, and Tunisia. The problem has insidiously infiltrated to the western nations of the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States because of global immigration and shifting cultural norms which have brought preferences for a male child across the globe.
Sex Ratios at Birth
Female gendercide can be viewed from the lens of sex ratios at birth (SRB). This is the number of boys born versus the number of girls born in a given period. The norm is about 105 boys to every 100 girls according to the WHO. However, in many Asian countries, the SRB's have climbed as high as 120 boys per 100 girls indicating that sex selective abortions are taking place regularly. Unnaturally high SRB's are also being noted in Eastern Europe and among 2nd and 3rd born children in some cultural communities in the UK, Canada, and the US.
Male Female Sex Ratios
Female gendercide can also be viewed from the lens of male to female sex ratios in society. In many countries, patriarchy, poverty, government policies, and cultural preferences have led to girls being eliminated in favor of boys. This has led to declining numbers of females. Sex ratios have fallen as low as 850 girls for 1000 boys in India and China where the effects show up most starkly because of huge populations—there is a serious female deficit and almost 80 million extra men. Skewed sex ratios are also being seen in many other countries due to gendercide.