Girl Children...

April 11, 2011

On a mailing list that I belong to, we’ve been having a discussion about the increasingly skewed sex ratios in India (there are less females to x no. of males than there ought to be.). Someone then wrote:

If women keep aborting, abandoning, and killing their girl children, where will that leave the population? And the boy children who these mothers are so adamant to save, who will take care of them? Who will they marry? Will the men take care of the children, cook, clean and do what the world sees as "the women's work"?

Girl children are just as valuable as the boy children. Parents pay for the children's education (be it boy or girl), their upkeep, their food, everything. Why does it matter if the children is a boy or a girl? Both are the same (or should be) in many parents lives.

Women have proven they can do just as well as men, if not better, in many levels. Why should we feel that women or girl children are so insignificant that they can just be tossed away.

~ S
Proud mother of 2 children, both daughters

And this was my response…..

This is an idealistic view. We who are better off economically, we who can give our daughters good opportunities…we can afford to love our daughters as much as our sons.

But let’s face the reality of many cultures…..the daughter is someone to be brought up at the usual expense, and then given away (yes, given away) with further (and often unaffordable) expense, to another family where her work at home, as well as work outside the home, will be the fruit enjoyed by that family. Her coming home to have her children entails yet further expense…and even more so if the death of her husband, or even a question on her morality, drive her away from her husband’s home, and she has no option but to return to the parental home.

That’s the economic side. On the emotional side…one has to feel the pangs of separation from one’s daughter as she moves out of the parental home. One has to watch, often without being able to protest, at the ill-treatment she is subjected to in the spousal home…as Shiv says, often she is a being in limbo, between a member of the family, and a servant.

Throughout a daughter’s life, the question of her morality hangs like a storm-cloud over the parents. The possiblity of shame stalks them relentlessly.

In this scenario, can one not understand parents not wanting a daughter to be born?

Until morals and economics change …they haven’t changed much except in small pockets….this is going to be a grim reality.

I can be proud of my daughter, and her daughter, because they can take their rightful places in the sun. If they were to be oppressed, and traduced, and beaten, and shamed…would I be so proud of them? Would I want them? I don’t know….and I can only count myself fortunate that I have not had to face this situation.

What do others (this means you!) think?