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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Feeding girl children

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The Social Environment

Love and respect for girl children may help correct the dangerous gender- imbalance in India

Data from Census of India 2011 show a dangerous imbalance in sex-ratio in many states.Here is a direct quote from  an important paper - 
A distinctive dimension of Asia’s recent population dynamics has been its unexpected “masculinisation” – the increasing proportion of males in its population. While the sex ratio of almost all other populations in the world tends to gradually diminish, as a result of increased life expectancy favourable to women, the proportion of boys in Asia’s population of children started to rise during the late 1970s, a trend that was not identified immediately for lack of proper data. Initially, the huge gap observed between the number of men and women represented, to a large extent, the legacy of mortality conditions that had been unfavourable to women during the past century. But it emerged that a new, unexpected phenomenon was also underway: sex ratio at birth was tilting towards boys, in a way that had never before been recorded in demographic history.

The paper while concluding the matter states -
With hundreds of thousands of female foetuses aborted every year in Asia, coupled with the prospects of deep social tensions in the future, countries in the region now have the duty to launch a head-on campaign against sex-selective abortions, one of the most upsetting manifestations of gender-based violence recognised by the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action. The past decades, which have seen greater attention to and some progress made towards women’s empowerment, should not lead to their demographic marginalisation in Asia. While accelerating social change is often a slow and difficult venture – particularly when it involves the basic gender and family arrangements on which all social relationships rest – societies need to find their own solutions to reverse the current trend towards gender exclusion. Even if the strategies for such a battle are many, the objective remains clear, and resources for actions should follow. The time to act has come, as decisions and initiatives taken today will shape the Asian society in which young generations will live tomorrow.  

"Sex-ratio imbalance in Asia:  Trends, consequences and policy responses by Christophe Z Guilmoto LPED/IRD, Paris

In Hindu traditions girls are fed and worshiped during Navaratra as "Nav Durga". Many Hindus report that  girls are hard to find these days  for feeding and worshiping during Navaratra. Promotion of such thoughts and   traditions, gender equality and reduction in the current trend of  "masculinisation",  in ways that may be acceptable to all sections may protect our societies in India.

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Key Words : Census, India, gender, girl children, Navaratra, Nav Durga, masculinisation

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