India’s huge gender disparities & female infanticide etc.
Posted by robertpriddy on February 4, 2015
In the years before his death, Sathya Sai Baba held a discourse in which he said that the number of males in India was greater than females. This also happens, he said, when war upset the balance. Yet he added that in time the unbalance levelled off, and that was the work of God. What he did not mention was that in India it was not – as in war – the male population which decreased, but the female. There was, however, evidently nothing whatever he could (as self-proclaimed God Almighty) to reduce the decrease in females in India. In 2012, India had seven million fewer girls than boys under the age of six! This year the decrease in relation to males has continued to grow. This causes huge problems for young men who want to start a relationship with a view to marriage. The vast majority of Indians have no hope whatever of leaving the mainland and finding Indian females abroad.
Amartya Sen has highlighted the need to consider the socio-cultural influences that promote gender inequalities In India, cultural influences favour the preference for sons for reasons related to kinship, lineage, inheritance, identity, status, and economic security. This preference cuts across class and caste lines, and it discriminates against girls. In extreme cases, the discrimination takes the form of ‘honour killings’ where families kill daughters or daughter in laws who fail to conform to gender expectations about marriage and sexuality. (i.e. really dishonourable killings) When a woman does not conform to expected gender norms she is shamed and humiliated because it impacts both her and her family’s honor, and perhaps her ability to marry. The causes of gender inequalities are complex, but a number of cultural factors in India can explain how son preference, a key driver of daughter neglect, is so prevalent. (See also Sathya Sai Baba family tree – and female infanticide?)
World Economic Forum (WEF) publishes a Global Gender Gap Index score for each nation every year. The index focuses not on empowerment of women, but on the relative gap between men and women in four fundamental categories – economic participation, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. In 2011, the WEF ranked India at 113 on the Gender Gap Index (GGI) among 135 countries polled… and below several sub-Saharan African countries.
According to The Lancet, “researchers found wealthier women with higher levels of education were more likely to abort girls because they could afford to pay for gender tests and abortions. Their report has exposed a 1996 law which banned gender screening tests in an attempt to reduce female feticides as a failure. Women in India are often placed under great pressure from their husbands and in-laws to deliver boys because girls are seen as a financial burden. They fear high dowries demanded by families of potential grooms and the pressure to pay for increasingly ostentatious weddings. (By Dean Nelson, New Delhi 24 May 2011)”.
See also Women, Sathya Sai Baba and male chauvinism