With new census data, India is once again under scrutiny for its unbalanced sex ratio. There are 914 girls for every 1,000 boys (under age 6), the lowest girl to boy ratio since 1947. This is a startling statistic when you consider the global average is 1,050 girls for every 1,000 boys, and there are countries like Latvia with a shortage of men. One way India has tried to remedy this is with stricter enforcement on abortions of female fetuses — according to a 2006 study there are an estimated half a million female fetuses aborted each year — but it doesn't seem to have made a dent in the stats.
If you're wondering why there are more boys than girls in India, it comes down to some of these reasons:
- Married Indian women are pressured to produce male heirs.
- Men are viewed as the breadwinners and family leaders.
- Girls require pricey dowries to be married (and most likely an extravagant wedding).
- Cheap and easily accessible ultrasounds make finding out the sex of the fetus easy, leading to abortions of females.
- Some wealthy Indians believe their status gives them the right to choose the sex of their children.
This cultural mindset, devaluing human life based on sex, has led to Indian girls being neglected and even killed. And with the help of modern technology, it's a scary path for the country. This may be a wake-up call for government officials to get more involved, but I really think unless there are some drastic changes within the culture, and possibly a rethinking of traditions like dowries, I don't know if a shift is possible. What do you think?