Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's A Girl- Female Infanticide and Foeticide In China and India

Women are not highly regarded in certain cultures, religions and countries.  In fact if you're female in certain regions of the world you'd be lucky if you even make it out of your mother's womb. In those places where males are valued more than females gendercide is astonishingly prevalent. According to the United Nations there are more than 200 million 'missing' girls as a result of 'femicide'.

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.


Cranky White Woman said...

Because of China's one child policy many female fetuses have been aborted, and many female babies are abandoned. In fact, I work with two ladies who both adopted girls from China -- three little Chinese girls in total. They both told me the Chinese orphanages are filled with baby girls. Because they're murdering their unborn girls, and because so many of the girls who are born are abandoned then adopted by foreigners, there is a real shortage of young ladies for the young men of China. And, of course, while China's population is aging, there aren't enough people being born to take care of them in their old age, but that's really another topic altogether. I believe that soon there will be raids in nearby countries to procure women for China or the government will ease many of the restrictions on the freedom of their citizens in order to make China a more attractive place in the eyes of foreigners in order to lure foreign women to emigrate to China. With India it's really the dowry system, which was outlawed, yet is still practiced, that makes girls such an expense, so they're not wanted. At least the Chinese realize the male determines the gender of the child. So the women aren't abused for giving birth to a girl. Unfortunately, the women in India aren't as lucky, as they believe the woman is responsible for the gender, so many are beaten and burned to death for not producing males.

Incognito said...

I wrote about that issue -the dearth of females for men in China- either here or on Instablogs. And they're already resorting to abductions and trafficking. Not sure why no-one there was able to predict that their one-child policy and the preference for males over females wouldn't at some point in time create the problem they now have. Very sad.
Have you ever seen "the King Of Masks"? A fabulous film about the issue of female children.

And the dowry issue is terrible. am writing about that soon.

It's all so sad.

Cranky White Woman said...

I've never heard of that film. Willcheck that out.

Incognito said...

definitely check it out.. it's a lovely film. Let me know if you do watch it and what you think.