Even after years of development and advancement misogyny still prevails in society. And this issue prevails because of the existence of social evils. Even in the 21st century, many people find girls as a burden on the family and not capable of achieving anything, but doing household chores. The stigma still exists mostly because of the dowry culture. As still having a girl child means giving hefty dowry for their marriage. Other than that, ‘preference of son over daughter as for old age security’, and the thought that ‘daughters can only be only involved in domestic work as they are ultimately going to be married off, and thus there is no need of education for them’, and more such narrow-minded thoughts exist in the society. All such thoughts and beliefs result in female feticide.
What is Female Feticide?
Female feticide the process of identifying the sex or gender of the fetus or the unborn child still in the mother’s womb, and aborting it if found out to be a girl. The sex of the fetus is determined through prenatal diagnostic tests. Sex-selective abortion results in the murder of a female fetus.
India Government’s Take on the Matter
Female foeticide hampered the child sex ratio. Some parts of India have a critically low child sex ratio. As per the 2011 census, the number of girl child in the age group of 0 – 6 years is 75,837,152 out of 158,789,287 which accumulates to 47.8%, and the number of girl child in the age group of 7 years and above is 540,772,113 which accumulates to 48.6% of the total number of children in this age group, which is 1,051,404,135. Even the literacy rate is low in girls. The literacy rate of male children stands at 80.9% whereas the literacy rate in girls stands at 64.6%, as per the 2011 census data. It is even seen that the rate of dropping out of school and higher education is more for girls.
‘Pre – Conception and Pre – Natal Diagnostics Techniques Act, 1994 (PC & PNDT), was enacted by the Parliament of India to put a curb on female foeticides. The act banned prenatal sex determination and regulates the pre-natal diagnostic techniques that are capable of determining the sex of the fetus, only for detecting any abnormalities.
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme – Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme (BBBP) was launched on 22nd January 2015 at Panipat, Haryana by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. An initial fund of Rs 100 crore was accumulated for the implementation of this scheme. It mainly targets Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Bihar, Punjab, and Delhi, where the child sex ratio is critically low.
The scheme involves enforcement of ‘Pre – Conception, and Pre – Natal Diagnostics Techniques Act, 1994 (PC & PNDT) and spreading nationwide awareness and multi-sector action focused on 100 districts throughout the country in its first phase where the child sex ratio is specifically low. Pre – Conception and Pre – Natal Diagnostics Techniques Act, 1994 (PC & PNDT) was enacted to stop the practice of female feticide.
The scheme aimed at eradicating the practice of female feticide which is the reason for the declining child sex ratio (CSR) as the practice of abortion of female fetus and murder of girl child is done as the girl child is seen as a liability on the family.
Today, the world collectively talks about equality and where women are performing at par with the men; where women are stepping on the moon; marking excellence in the field of science, technology, and inventions, still is divided by a society that believes in killing a child which has not seen the world just because it is a female, and is believed to be of no good and a burden because of the social evils they created themselves.
Female feticide is a crime and also threatens the human right of ‘right to life’. It is important not just to literate but educate and aware the society about such social stigmas existing in the society.