One might see posters outside a hospital saying "Save the girl child". But, how many of us actually implement it. Even though sex determination is illegal in India, it is still very common. We all believe that an increase in literacy rate will lead to an increase in gender ratio. But will it? Studies show that gender ratio is most skewed in the posh areas of Delhi and Mumbai. Punjab which is supposed to be a prosperous state and has high literacy rate has one of the lowest sex ratio in the country.
Traditionally, our society has been a patriarchal society. In many families with a girl and a boy child, often the boy child's needs is given more preference over the girl child's. Though now the disparity is closing. More and more parents are treating both the sexes of their children equally. But, sadly in their hearts of hearts, the male child is still their future athlete who is going to run for the continuation of their family line.
I often wonder why parents vie for a male child? The reason is that in our society, females are seen as weak characters. Right since the beginning, there are separate timings for the boy and the girl child to be back at home. Crying and playing with dolls is seen as a weakness and therefore not encouraged in the male child. Molestation of girls is disguised as eve-teasing, a minor offence. And, incase somebody whistles when she passes by, it's all her fault. She only must have done something to provoke the guy to whistle. Or worse still, she might be scolded by her parents for not wearing foot long skirts!!! The character of a girl child is linked with the character of her whole family. Look at all the matrimonial ads. They all want a homely bride!
Getting your daughter married is considered equivalent to getting rid of the burden associated with it. For most parents its not a moment of happiness but a moment of immense responsibility. They have to arrange for the dowry. Dowry includes everything from giving gifts to all her in-laws to buying an expensive car. Little do they realize that even all this cannot ensure the happiness of their daughter in her new home. She still might be tortured for getting more dowry. And if the in-laws do not get it, they burn the bride alive.
In most households, the man is the decision maker of the family. Women have little or no say in financial and other matters. The situation is even worse for the housewives. Even if the mother wants to protect her girl child, she is beaten up and forced to abort it or give it up for adoption. The saga of the third girl child is even more painful. The parents have a third child in the hope of giving birth to a son this time. But, her birth brings sudden gloom in the family. In some cases she is given up for adoption or worse, even killed before her birth. The logic behind this is now the parents can have another try at having a male child. Also, who has the resources to spend on another girl child. Though, those resources might have been enough for raising a third male child.
Naturally, the female child has more chances of survival. Hence, in ideal conditions the sex ratio should be more than one. Therfore, our society needs an ideological change. We need to free our females from the strongholds of patriarchal society. We need to portray females as an independent and strong sex. Also, the females themselves should try and fight for their rights, dreams and what they want to do with their lives. They should not let anyone else steer their lives for them. Only then perhaps, we will have a sex ratio more than one.