Gendercide, an act that refers to the systematic elimination of members of a specific gender is quite common in Asian countries and in particular, Indian and China. It is shocking that close to 200 million females are victims of gendercide worldwide. According to Ufret (2014), culture is largely to blame for this worrying trend which in essence is a violation of female human rights. Gendercide is an outrageous violation of sanctity of life and its really sad that two of the most important world economies have allowed this trend to persist among its citizenry. In this paper, we investigate the gendercide problem in Indian and China from a sociological perspective. Special attention is give n to the role of international community and local advocacy in shunning this abhorrent at against females.
What is Gendercide?
Gendercide is defined by Warren (1985) as the systematic elimination of members of a specific gender (normally females) and is a widely practice act in Indian and China. Using illegal ultrasound equipment, some Indians and Chinese citizens pursue the determination of the sex of unborn children with the sole purpose of gender determination. After such a scan, selective sex termination is then carried out with the aim of killing girls and letting children live. According to Kolloor (1990), female feticide is this selective abortion process that unfortunately leads to the killing through abortion of female fetuses. Other than this method, these communities also perform female infanticide to a large extent. Female infanticide on the other hand is the as the extermination of a completely dependent child under the age a year by either their parents or by a person whose care the infant has been delegated. It is shocking that in India, midwives conspire with parents and grandparents to deliver a "stillborn" female child by either smothering it with a wet piece of clothing or by strangling the child with the umbilical cord. The resulting scenario has created a crisis of gender imbalance in both Indian and China. According to UNFPA (2011), the male to female ratio has risen in such places from the normal 105:1100 to as high as 140:100.
The roles of finances and culture in gendercide
Culture and finances have been exposed as the main causes of gendercide in Indian and China. The culture in both countries shuns poverty and the dowry and social policy systems have been rigged to favor males and enslave females. The Indian Dowry system has been set up to favor males and their families and to do the opposite to the females. In this regard, females are obliged to pay heavy dowry prices and should they fail to raise enough dowry, they would be punished and even killed by their spouses. In China, the One Child Policy coupled with the male sex preference has led to female gendercide in families that prefer having male children.
A sociological analysis reveals a common denominator in both countries- patriarchy. Both nations have for a protracted time period favored and practiced patriarchies. In such a s system, males are favored over females in all matters of the society. This ultimately leads to a serious dislike of the female gender and favoring of the male offspring. The fact that close to 200,000 girls are either missing or aborted in India annually is sickening. That number coupled with Ufret (2014), assertion that there are close to 1,500 sex-selective female abortions conducted in Indian and China every hour is quite chilling to say the least. Perhaps more despicable are the reasons used by the parents willing to sacrifice their children in the name of culture. Some of these women claim that by killing off their female offspring, they help them avoid the harsh realities of being born a female and languishing in poverty.
In other words, female offspring in China and India is a cursed gender. This is because they are viewed as unnecessary beings that are expensive to bring up and "sell off". This point brings us to the main financial motivations for gendercide in the two nations. According to Ufret (2013), male children are viewed to be monetarily better than their female counterparts. Sons benefit from money, dowry and other forms of inheritances while daughters and their families must provide it to the males. Women are therefore a representation of poverty and material loss to their families.
India and China can never truly progress by leaving their women behind. It's high time they realize the role and importance of women to the greater development agenda. The countries cannot pretend to be world leaders in anything until they shun through legislation or otherwise, the killing of innocent young girls in the name of male dominance. The international community should shun and act on these two nations for this act of gendercide since after all, it's only the almighty creator who should decide who lives or dies.
It's a Girl (2012), Synopsis, see: itsagirlmovie.com/en/synopsis.
Kolloor, T.M. (1990). Female Infanticide: A psychological analysis. Grass Roots Action, special issue on Girl Child, 3 April 1990.
Ufret, S (2014). No One Wants a Baby Girl: Analyzing Gendercide in China and India. Global Majority E-Journal, Vol. 5, No. 2 (December 2014), pp. 117-127
Warren, MA (1985).Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection. Holmes HB. PMID: 11649758;