Indian girls: what future lies ahead?
We do not have the right to kill the girl child.
I have come here to beg for the life of the girl child.
Those were the words pronounced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 on launch of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save girls, educate girls). This campaign aims to better girls’ conditions, in a society led by men.
India is a developing country with an emerging economy and over 1 billion people but it is also one of the perfect examples of this situation. Its population still encounters many difficulties regarding social status, and women especially have to go through major challenges. In 2011 the population census indicated that the sex ratio was 943 females per 1000 of males. Women are outnumbered in India and this situation can be explained by the fact that girls are valued less than boys, thus many women resort to sex-selective abortions. Although it is outlawed, thousands of babies are aborted each year and their only mistake was to be a girl.
This outrageous situation highlights a patriarchal society where traditions are deeply entrenched. Indeed, the dowry system was banned by the government but it’s still an outgoing practice in India.
Families have to pay for their daughters to get married and that is the reason why girls are considered as a burden. They are given no education and are highly discriminated against and with the prevalence of this practice women are being married against their will and child-marriage cases are widespread in India.
Besides, women are subjected to domestic violence, to harassment, and since they are second-class citizens, people don’t pay attention to the rough treatments they have to undergo. They are pressured to keep silent, to remain passive and can’t stand for their rights.
Recently, the case of Asifa, an eight-year-old girl gang-raped and killed shocked the entire country, even though this is something that happens way too often. Yes, the rape culture is widespread in India and with girls being outcasts, actions are taken to ensure the victims’ silence. Consciences of many are being awakened yet in a country where “abuse of women is the biggest human rights violation on Earth.” -Deepa Narayan- we know for sure that things won’t change drastically.
We all know that girls constitute an important factor of society. Save our girls, save our future.