Female gendercide has exterminated the lives of millions of girls and is an ongoing problem of global significance that places 3 million more girls at risk each year. We must do our part to stop it from perpetuating, no matter where we live. Although many countries have criminalized female infanticide and banned sex-selection technologies, the laws are often ignored and their enforcement is challenging. Change cannot always be mandated from the top; it must arise through social advocacy, and education at the grass-roots level. People’s mindsets need to change. One person, one action, and one small step at a time can create big change, even that change takes time. Below are some ways to become involved and take the first step towards action.
When a family kills or aborts a girl child, they believe that it is only “one” child less. They think it makes no difference and lack awareness of the future problems it creates and what gendercide is doing to the social dynamics and landscape of entire countries. Educational campaigns are fundamental to enabling families to understand that girls are not liabilities, but actually provide a great contribution to promoting the well-being and forward progress of their communities. Ignorance about this issue must be eliminated.
Be a voice if a family member discriminates against the birth of a female child. In spite of gendercide being such a ubiquitous crime, it is a silent issue and has very little mark on the record of human history. Since it happens in the privacy of the home against a victim that is voiceless and defenseless, very few first-person accounts are described. It is an unspoken, ignored topic: the darker underbelly of many countries. Some countries do not allow their statistics to be disclosed openly. Stand up and protest if you see it happening Do not stand for it. Your voice can save a life.
Give gifts and donations to abandoned and orphaned girls around the world. The ‘Cradle Baby Scheme’ and baby hatches allow parents to leave unwanted girls in safe places like hospitals and orphanages, where they will be looked after and placed for adoption. These places need ongoing resources. Your donations of supplies and money go a long way in helping a girl-child receive the care she needs – a safe home, three meals a day, medical care, and support from social workers.
BE AN ADVOCATE
Speak up against contributing social problems like dowry, child marriage, lack of female education, and harassment. On an average, one woman is murdered for dowry issues - almost one woman every hour in India. The country also has the highest percentage of child brides with 27% of girls in India marrying before the age of 18. If a woman gives birth to a female baby, she is often blamed and harassed. Speak up and involve police and social organizations. Lobby against forced abortions, for increased sex-education and contraceptive access, and for affordable education and healthcare for girls to prevent female gendercide.
BE A BILLBOARD
The Internet is a powerful tool. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and podcasts to spread awareness about gendercide globally. The mediums have thousands of people following their messages. Write blogs, create films, poems and songs, and screen the movie “It’s a Girl” for others. Gendercide is a hidden issue that is not discussed openly. Social media can be an immediate way to reach a large audience in a globally interconnected world and prove effective in drawing attention to this serious and widescale issue.
SUPPORT A GIRL'S EDUCATION
Education is imperative to improving a woman’s status in society - allowing for gainful employment and supporting her financial independence. Educated women understand family planning better, make economic contributions, and take well-informed decisions for their families. Infant mortality rates decrease and the marriage age increases. There is overall social and economic progress of nations and the GDP increases. Gender equality in education empowers women and leads to a country’s successful development.
SUPPORT A GIRL'S HEALTHCARE
One quarter of girls in India do not live past puberty. For a girl to survive and thrive, she must receive adequate early childhood care - milk supplements, food rations, immunizations, vitamins, safe drinking water, and the proper nourishment to grow. A girl in a high-risk situation must be monitored by medical personnel. Mothers must receive prenatal counseling and affordable antenatal care. Psychological care is equally important to make a girl-child realize that her life is valuable and she is important to society.
BE A BILLBOARD
Represent what you stand for by wearing a T-shirt, wristband, button or pin. This opens up conversations and draws attention to female gendercide and the lethal prejudice against girls. Partner with fundraising events and place an informational flyer at the check in area. Place flyers on the notice boards of cultural centers, temples, public libraries or distribute them in low-income slum areas. Point out resources and organizations that can help. This draws attention to the problem, it does not remain hidden.
SIGN A PETITION
Sign the ‘50 Million Missing’ campaign petition and the petition on ‘Women’s Rights without Frontiers’ against forced abortions in China. Start your own signature campaign and circulate it among your friends and family and direct it to the attention of your local civic governing body. Get involved with local youth organization to show that this may be an insidious problem in the local community. Become vocal and fight for change of mindset and the status quo. Other people will gradually join in and lend their support to fighting against female infanticide.
SUPPORT OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
Remember that you are not a lone voice. Connect with other organizations that are working for the eradication of female gendercide and are rescuing girls around the world like The Invisible Project, Unique Home, The Pushpa Project, and Snehalaya. Also, support organizations that are working for education and healthcare in underserved and rural areas like Ekal and NSF. Helping their missions gives a compounded effect and reaches out to more girls and their families. Everyone benefits when we rally together.