not the Girl Child
In this day and age, when women have climbed Everest, flown into space and made it to the highest rung of corporate ladders, it is moot to question the need for such a day - Sept 24, Girl Child Day. At CRY UK, along with our partner in India, CRY- Child Rights and You, we believe that the Girl Child Day is still relevant.
Consider: Killing of female foetuses and infants has increased over the past few years. In urban India too. In "prosperous" states too. A wide gap continues to separate the girl child from her brother. While he goes to school and gets nourishing food and time for play, she is expected to work at home, look after siblings and is often given less to eat. Education is not made a priority for her.
The disregard, malnourishment, and abuse, continue through her life, taking the form of enforced early marriages, repeated child bearing at a young age and denial of property rights in adulthood.
The Indian Constitution provides for equal treatment of all children. At CRY UK, we Believe this is not enough. We are of the opinion that the girl child needs to be positively discriminated in favour of, both within her family and outside. Only this will create a milieu that preserves, cherishes and nurtures her childhood and is conducive to her holistic development.
The girl child has rights equal to that of boys. These have been consistently denied to her. Her rights must and can be ensured by the state, all it takes is political and collective will. Girl Child Day is the perfect time to begin.
The Girl child is vulnerable, voiceless because of:
- A patriarchal structure (sons are given preference in property rights)
- Culture and beliefs (females are considered in the second rung)
- Social norms (foeticide, infanticide, malnutrition, child marriage)
- Unequal status in the family (considered a liability, not treated with dignity because she will get married and go away to another home. In-laws will have to be given a dowry.)
- Denied equal opportunities in education, health, recreation and development.
Sex Ratio - 1981-91 census shows 1.37 crore more boys than girls. 2001 census shows there are 42 crore children, with boys outnumbering girls by 1.98 crores.
The national average is falling:
In 1991 : 945 girls for every 1000 boys
In 2001 : 927 for every 1000 boys
Projections for 2011 show that about 23 million men would be without life partners.
Many think that girls are most disadvantaged among the poor than the rich. The India Census 2001 proves it wrong.
The latest figures emphatically prove that poverty is not responsible for gender-biased abortions the girl child is treated better in rural India as compared to urban India.
The Census 2001 shows that 6 million children reside in slums and constitute 16.4 per cent of the child population. The child sex ratio* (for the age group of 0 to 6 years) in slum** areas of 26 states is 919 girls compared to 904 girls in "non-slum areas" inhabited by fairly well-off people. In 13 states and Union Territories, the child sex ratio in slum areas is above 943, which is above the average national figure. The child sex ratio is above 950 in slum areas in Cheffgnnai, Patna, Nagpur and Nashik.
*sex ratio is the number of girls for every 1000 boys
**The "slum data" released by the Census covers 640 cities and towns in 26 states and Union Territories. "Slum enumeration blocks" were formed for the first time for the 2001 Census.
In Rajasthan, the child sex ratio in rural areas is 914 compared to 887 in urban areas. The child sex ratio in Rajasthan's slum areas is 902 compared to 886 in non-slum areas. Also, the rate of cases of selective abortions is higher in Rajasthan's non-slum areas compared to slum areas. According to reports, technology, particularly pre-natal sex determination tests, is responsible for lower girl child numbers in urban non-slum areas.
If you want to know more about the issue of the girl child or the rights of children, write in to us at : firstname.lastname@example.org