It’s a girl.
That is a seemingly innocent arrangement of three words which has caused the deaths and ‘disappearance’ of more than 200 million girls worldwide, mostly in India and China. That’s the United Nations estimate, by the way.
Let’s find another way of putting that into perspective, as mentioned in the film. India and China abort or kill more foetuses every year than are actually born in the United States.
Let that sink in.
The staggering statistics are created by a culture in many parts of South Asia that sees women as inferior. A uterus is not desirable in these countries because men are seen as the providers. Ram Mashru writes in The Independent:
“Gendercide in South Asia takes many forms: baby girls are killed or abandoned if not aborted as foetuses. Girls that are not killed often suffer malnutrition and medical neglect as sons are favoured when shelter, medicine and food are scarce. Trafficking, dowry deaths, honour killings and deaths resulting from domestic violence are all further evils perpetrated against women. This femicide has led the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces to report in ‘Women in an Insecure World’ that a secret genocide is being carried out against women at a time when deaths resulting from armed conflicts have decreased.
The brutal irony of femicide is that it is an evil perpetrated against girls by women.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.
Take a look at the movie trailer:
So what’s the solution?
Simply changing the laws won’t work. Dowries were banned in India decades ago but are still pervasive. They make women ‘expensive’ in the long run as their families must pay their future husbands. And alleviating poverty (were it so easy) isn’t a fix-all. Data shows the killing of baby girls and aborting female foetuses happens across the socio-economic divide. Indeed, abortions are more common among the wealthier who can afford the ultrasound technology to reveal the sex of the child before birth. Education helps, of course, but only so much.