Newly released data shows that an Indian girl child aged 1-5 years is 75% more likely to die than an Indian boy, making this the worst gender differential in child mortality for any country in the world
And I am sure most of us are not even surprised. Of course not, it would have been more surprising had it not been the deadliest place in the world! After all, don’t all know people who say,
- Don’t worry, next time, it will be a boy
- If the first born is a boy, then it is a huge relief
- My first is a boy, so I am comfortable in this pregnancy
- We want a three child family. (This statement when they are told that they are expecting a second daughter. Funnily, when the child was born, and it turned out to be a boy, they were immediately happy with two!)
- You have a girl? And you don’t want to have another child? Don’t you have pressure from your in-laws to have a boy?
And all this from professionals, people who are educated, well-traveled, and who you would think would know better! And all this from people my age. Not age old aunties or older people set in their ways, but young people, who have had the benefit of education, and awareness, who have no real excuse for thinking this way! Despite the circumstances, the preference for a male child remains strong across classes. When we have such negativity, it is not difficult to understand why the girl child’s mortality rate is higher than a male child’s in India, despite the fact that biological factors actually favor the girl child.
Is it any surprise that India is a country where we would do anything to not have a girl?