Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Another attempt at Reducing Female Foeticide

As young college girls, my friends and I were doing what we could to
help disseminate information about Female Foeticide in India. In fact
one of the most terrible moments of my teenaged years was when I was
researching this subject and I found out about the how infant girls
are killed in some of the interior regions of the state of Tamilnadu.
Piping hot chicken broth being oured down their throats till they die,
poisonous sap given to female infants and what not.

From the CS Monitor --
"Salem district, a mostly rural part of Tamil Nadu, has a longstanding
reputation as a deathtrap for baby girls. The Vellala Gounder
community, the dominant caste there, owns most of the land and is
intent on retaining property rights within the family. Sons represent
lineage; daughters marry and relocate to their husbands' homes. As a
result, local women, like Lakshmi, who gave birth to a girl early last
year, may refuse to nurse their newborns. They leave it to midwives or
mothers-in-law to administer the oleander sap, say anti-infanticide
activists.Nearly 60 percent of girls born in Salem District are killed
within three days of birth, according to the local social welfare
department. That doesn't count the growing number of abortions there
to ensure a girl baby won't be carried to term. Amid such stubborn
statistics, activists are at work to counter the forces of tradition.
A focus of their work: improving the standing and self-image of women

Then a cradle scheme was introduced by the Tamilnadu government to
allow parents to anonymously drop off their girl babies, in an open
cradle outside orphanages. No one would question the parents dropping
off these babies, and they would be taken care of by the government as

From the Hindu -
"In 1992, the Tamil Nadu government started the Cradle Baby Scheme
primarily in response to reports of female infanticide in certain
pockets of the State. Studies showed that there were about 3,000 cases
of female infanticide every year in Tamil Nadu, adding up to a fifth
of all female infant deaths in the State. The government launched the
cradle scheme under which parents who did not wish to keep their girl
babies could leave them in cradles kept at government reception
centres. It was started with one reception centre each in Salem,
Madurai, Theni, and Dindigul, areas most notorious for female
infanticide. In April 2001, it was extended to the whole of Tamil Nadu
- reception centres, totalling 188, were set up at all PHCs and major
government hospitals."

Now Reuters reports that --
"India is offering to pay poor families nearly $3,000 to bring up
their girl children, and discourage the widespread practice of
aborting the female foetus which has led to a skewed gender balance in
parts of the country."

Scary isn't it, that with India fast becoming an economic superpower,
problems such as these continue to plague the country!

Read the full article from Reuters at --

Link to the article in the Christian Science Monitor --

Link to the Hindu article -

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