Abortion of Female Fetus in India creating Gender Imbalance crisis.
Selective abortion of female fetuses in India dates to the tradition of male preference. Male preference often focuses on economics whereby girls are viewed as economic burdens for their families whereas boys can become earners and provide for their respective families. Traditionally, boys are a source of protection and care to their parents when they become elderly whereas girls will care for the families of those they marry. A girl is often viewed as a financial burden in some Indian families because when a girl is married off, the families of the groom demand a dowry payment which is illegal in India but still widely practiced. As a result, this take of girl child in India has led to the creation of gender imbalance due to the selective abortion of female fetuses.
According to reports of the Daily Telegraph newspaper of Britain, Indian activists estimate that as many as 8 million unborn females were aborted over the past decade due to the pressurization of mothers to produce only boys. A mother is therefore blamed for producing a female child and faces desertion, discrimination, and even violence to some extent for punishing the family. Census reports in India also show that over the 50 year period from 1961 to 2011, the number of girls born per 1000 boys dropped from 976 to 914 creating a dramatic gender imbalance. Since Indian men already outnumber women by almost 10 million, there is a demand to abolish abortions that occur every day as stated by Uttar Pradesh.
Indian government and authorities have launched the fight against selective abortion of female fetuses. Entire families who pressure their female relatives into aborting female fetuses may be imprisoned together with the medical professionals who perform ultrasound tests to determine a baby’s gender. Also, the families are held accountable since they go to clinics performing sex-selection tests initializing the process of sex selection and female feticide. Amendments in the Indian law will see families equally liable for the offense into a term jail sentence between 6 months to 7 years.
The jail term will entirely depend on whether the family was just involved in sex selection or both selection and regular abortion of the fetus. Though the overall abortion rate in India is lower than that seen in many other nations, selective abortion of girls is higher and maybe increasing since most Indian girls die at twice the rate of boys before they reach the age of five as noted by the United Nations.
Gender imbalance as a result of the abortions of female fetuses leads to significant social strife whereby millions of Indian men are unable to find wives. The few ladies available will be competed for as wives by rich young adult males making the poor men lose whom to marry.
Esteve-Volart’s (2000; 2004) model divides the population into workers and managers with different education requirements for both groups. Economic growth rates in India are hurt under partial discrimination but not under total discrimination. The model predicts that economies with either type of sex discrimination will experience a lower per capita GDP. Therefore, since India discriminates more against women, it faces lower growth rates and lowers per capita GDP. Women’s education in India has both direct and indirect effects on economic growth (Klassen, 2003). Underinvestment in women’s education can be seen as a misallocation of India’s resources as in Esteve-Volart’s (2000, 2004) model.
In addition, an increase in female education in India will improve fertility rates, children’s health, and education. Female education in India is highly associated with lower child mortality as well as lower fertility rates (Schultz 1993; Hill and King 1995). Lower fertility rates will result in lower population growth in India. Besides, higher education for Indian women will at least allow firms to higher cheaper female labor, increasing investment and economic growth as well as Seguin (2000a; 2000b). By hiring female labor, Indian women will feel appreciated and incorporated into the Indian society hence reducing gender imbalance.
By under-investing in India’s women, Indian society will not be allocating its resources efficiently. This is because gender differences in education will tend to reflect different ways in which Indian society is under-investing in women (Schultz, 2001). For this reason, if the inefficiencies developed by this inequality are sizeable enough, they will decrease productivity to a level that will harm India’s growth rates.
The economic explosion in India is hastening the tendency of sex-selective abortion. This aspect is merging with technological developments in ultrasound that make scans more dependable earlier in pregnancy increasing penetration across the country. The study converses at an intersection of current economic, demographic and technological change with deep-rooted social preference, which is costing the lives of millions of Indian girls.
According to the Indian Time survey, boys receive more parental time a day than girls whereby an extra 30 minutes is allocated to boys’ equivalent to 14%. The quality of children is better for boys who are more breastfed for a longer time, vaccinated and given vitamin supplements which are on average 10% higher for boys. The research concludes that such differential care accounts for nearly a third of the higher mortality rates for girls. As a result, a large number of unmarried men are therefore likely to lead to an increase in violence against Indian women. Therefore the quantity and quality of potential husbands in India increase both the rates of divorce and marriage since married women can found better alternatives because the unmarried men outnumbered the married ones (Lloyd, 1992).
In conclusion, the Indian government and authorities should increase the value of women and girls in society rather than restricting access to safe abortion services. They should empower women with their fundamental rights in order to change the view of the girl child in Indian society since they too play a critical role in motherhood despite being looked down upon as an economic burden. Sex imbalances in India arise from the patrilineal inheritance system.
Pritchett, Lant. “Where Has All the Education Gone?” The World Bank Economic Review, 1999, 15 (3), pp. 367-391.
Seguin, Stephanie. “Gender Inequality and Economic Growth: A Cross-country Analysis.” World Development, 2000, 28 (7), pp. 1211-1230
Todaro, Michael P., and Stephen C. Smith. “Economic Development”. Addison-Wesley, 2006.
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