If you live in China or India (followed closely by Taiwan, Pakistan and South Korea) you have less of a chance of surviving birth or toddlerhood than anywhere else in the world. It's estimated that China and India combined kill more infant girls than are born in the U.S. per annum. If they're not aborted, the infants are killed or abandoned and neglected.
The documentary film "It's A Girl!", produced by ShadowLine Films, documents this tragedy.
It tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters' lives, and of other mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.
Girls who survive infancy are often subject to neglect, and many grow up to face extreme violence and even death at the hands of their own husbands or other family members.
The war against girls is rooted in centuries-old tradition and sustained by deeply ingrained cultural dynamics which, in combination with government policies, accelerate the elimination of girls.
Shot on location in India and China, It’s a Girl! explores the issue. It asks why this is happening, and why so little is being done to save girls and women.
According to Safe World For Women, more often than not it's women who are responsible for the death of their baby girls. One harrowing interview in the film trailer (see below), a giggling woman nonchalantly discusses killing 8 of her young daughters. Oftentimes, it's the mother-in-law who forces the issue:
The most insidious force is often the mother in law, the domestic matriarch, under whose authority the daughter in law lives. Policy efforts to halt infanticide have been directed at mothers, who are often victims themselves. The trailer shows tragic scenes of women having to decide between killing their daughters and their own well-being. In India women who fail to produce sons are beaten, raped or killed so that men can remarry in the hope of procuring a more productive wife.
And poverty and ignorance are not always a factor in gendercide.
Firstly, there is no evidence of concerted female infanticide among poverty-stricken societies in Africa or the Caribbean. Secondly, it is the affluent and urban middle classes, who are aware of prenatal screenings, who have access to clinics and who can afford abortions that commit foeticide. Activists fear 8 million female foetuses have been aborted in India in the last decade.
Read the rest of the article on gendercide.
"It's A Girl" is scheduled for a release in 2012.