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How One Country’s Culture Is Destroying the Girl Child

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The average ratio of females to males born annually is 105:100 (Ahmad). In some parts of India, this ratio is dramatically different. As few as 882 females per 1000 males have been reported in certain areas of the country (Ahmad). Assuming an average of 900 females born to every 1000 males, 10% of the females in India are missing. Sex selective infanticide and feticide over many years have caused females to become outnumbered by males by nearly 36 million. Multiple studies have been able to connect this unequal gender ratio to only a few important factors, including the population’s illegal inclusion of dowries in the marriage ceremony, as well as the patriarchal preference of the culture.
Fig. 1.
According to studies, nearly 1.5 of the 12 million females born in India each year does not see a first birthday. Only 9 million of these young women will survive to see a 15th birthday (Sumner). The ratio of females to males decreased from 927 girls per 1000 boys in 2001 to only 914 girls per 1000 boys in 2011 (Dasgupta). The estimated number of deaths in females under the age of five is 261,800 in India (Missing Girls). Aside from a declining gender ratio, studies have proven that females in India also suffer other forms of inequality. This inequality stems primarily from the male preference. The preference for a male child in India is shown in many ways other than the gender ratio (Sumner). According to studies, more boys than girls are immunized in India and male infants are breast fed longer than females. Not only do girl children eat only after all male family members have finished eating, the quality of the food that they are given is poor, and the nutritious quality of said food is less than that of the males’ (Sum...

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