It’s a girl, a film being released this year, documents the practice of killing unwanted baby girls in South Asia. The trailer’s most chilling scene is one with an Indian woman who, unable to contain her laughter, confesses to having killed eight infant daughters.
The statistics are sickening. The UN reports approximately 200 million girls in the world today are ‘missing’. India and China are said to eliminate more female infants than the number of girls born in the US each year. Lianyungang in China has the worst infant gender ratio on record with 163 boys born for every 100 girls. Taiwan, South Korea and Pakistan are also countries in which unwanted female babies are aborted, killed or abandoned.
Take a look at the movie trailer:
For more information about the film, visit here
So what’s the solution?
Simply changing the laws won’t work. Dowries were banned in India decades ago but are still pervasive. They make women ‘expensive’ in the long run as their families must pay their future husbands. And alleviating poverty (were it so easy) isn’t a fix-all. Data shows the killing of baby girls and aborting female foetuses happens across the socio-economic divide. Indeed, abortions are more common among the wealthier who can afford the ultrasound technology to reveal the sex of the child before birth. Education helps, of course, but only so much.
In China the problem is exacerbated by the One Child Policy which placed even more stress on a society based in Confucianism which saw male children, especially firstborns, as vital to the culture and economy. When families only had one shot at having a boy, infanticide of girls increased dramatically.
Part of the problem is that women in these countries are still very much considered to be an economic liability. Especially when dowries are taken into consideration.
According to the Ministry of Women and Child Development’s Child Right Handbook, there is a common myth in India that daughters don’t benefit their families.
“Bringing up a girl child is like watering a neighbour’s garden,” the handbook states. “You raise them up, protect them all through and also plan for their marriage and dowry till they are ﬁnally gone.”
So even public education campaigns are framed around offsetting the liabilities of the woman by explaining how beneficial they may be in a modern economy.
So even in trying to limit the damage of femicide, women are reduced to an economic unit.
“[A] Mumbai doctor says that increasing women’s status is the only way to stop sex-selective abortion in India.
“No amount of education, rules and punishment can stop female feticide,” he says. “It will stop only when the status of girls and women will be raised high in our society. In fact, her status should be more than that of the men. Only this will bring about a vigorous change.”
Advocates say they hope that the country that worships many goddesses will one day begin to desire daughters, too.”