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You are here : home > Raising Children > The Girl Child > Biased Against Daughters

Biased Against Daughters

Biased Against Daughters

The status of women in most 'third world' and developing countries remains a cause for concern. Why do we have such a preference for a male child? What is it that a male child provides parents with, that a female child cannot?  

Many parents have a mistaken belief that the male child will be a support for parents in the old age. The government has tried to counter this mindset by providing more means of social security to the elderly, but such schemes only target the educated urban population, not the rural villager. Thus, parents still look upon their children as a main source of support in their old age. They fail to realise that daughters, if well brought up and educated, can also be a great support to their parents - not just financially, but emotionally as well. When parents fall ill, who is more likely to look after them? A daughter or a son? Who can parents expect more love and companionship from? A son, a daughter-in-law or a daughter? When a mother wants to go shopping, buy a sari, a salwar kameez or a jewellery item, who does she go with, her son or her daughter? 

It is believed that a daughter is only yours till the day she gets married, because she leaves the home and goes away. The son, however, lives with the parents for his entire life, providing them with companionship and support in their old age. The fact is that the reverse is true: a son is a son till he gets a wife, a daughter is a daughter till the end of your life.  

The bias against daughters arises largely because of economic reasons. Sons are viewed as "social security" in areas where resources are scarce, avenues for savings limited, and public support for the elderly non-existent. Daughters, on the other hand, require large dowry payments at the time of marriage. In fact, one of the direct causes of the preference for the birth of a male child and the increasing cases of female infanticide is the dowry system. It is imperative that we abolish this evil which can only be achieved through education. 

The preference of a girl child is mostly seen in India and China, and in these countries female infanticide is practiced on a large scale. Female infanticide is prevalent amongst the uneducated rural population of India, who live in extreme poverty, and this brutal practice reflects the low status accorded to women - especially in those countries with dominant 'patriarchal' societies. However, the abortion of a female foetus is a common practice in upper middle-class and wealthy urban Indian families as well. It is shameful to know that no other country in the world prevents a doctor from disclosing the sex of an unborn foetus, except India. Why? Because once parents get to know that they are carrying a girl child, many opt for an abortion. Even more deep-rooted is the perception that the woman is inferior to the man. This is a perception which runs through the mind of every Indian - educated or not and it is visible in every aspects of our culture. When the well-meaning aunt of a groom laughs and jokingly says "Aakhir hum ladke waale hai!" (After all, we're from the boy's side), or when the proud grandmother gifts her daughter-in-law diamond solitaire earrings on the birth of her grandson and a simple gold pendant on the birth of a granddaughter. 

The next time you as a daughter expect your parents to bow down to your husband's wishes, or as a husband, if you expect timely 'gifts' from your in-laws, remember that you are only contributing to further strengthen the roots of this accursed evil. 

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Ravina.4 years ago
Excellent article! Women have a role to play in the system as well and their submissiveness and lack of action only causes further problems and worsens the case. Well written.
Shriya.10 years ago
it's a nice article
leena.10 years ago
sad part is that women themselves do not realise the disrespect shown to them and their family(parents) and are content in having 'sons' to perpetuate the same to their daughter-in-laws. none other than men get benefitted in this whole affair as a husband , son , fil. only education of girls and improved self-esteem can help in fighting this social evil.
lalitha.10 years ago
women are also responsible to an extent for this situation. if women brought up thier children well and taught thier sons to respect women - and if they treated thier daughters with the same love, affection and gave them the same rights they gave thier son, this problem wouldnt arise.
preeti bhambry
preeti bhambry.10 years ago
it is shocking to know that in many places of our country girl child is killed even before she is born.infantile foeticide is our country'sreality. but why a girl is consider to be a burden when they too can get employed and can easily become a bread earner and be easily an earning member!
Sapna J. Bhatoye
Sapna J. Bhatoye.10 years ago
we need to focus more on women health during pregnancy, treatment given by in-laws etc. women need to be made educated about their thoughts towards male and female as even they are womens. the article is very good and very motivating
rahul.10 years ago
this article is too good .. makes practical reading ...
chickki.10 years ago
well done!! way to go!!.hip hip hurray for girls
padram.10 years ago
girls are treasure to ones family especially to a mother. education to girls will lift the family. girls are gems that is why both start with letter g. girls give moral strength to the family.
Bias-AGAINST-Males.10 years ago
this entire site is filled with demeaning statements and stereotypes, not of girls or women, but of boys and men. it is obvious the site is produced by females with a resentment of males. the obvious and subtle putdowns are disturbing. what kind of physical or emotional abuse are sons, brothers, nephews, husbands and fathers of this site's builders subject to? why are you incapable of presenting information in a nuetral form-- female sexism is alive, strong, and real. both genders should be treated equally and with equal respect and awe .. you don't create equality for females by tearing down males. it should be obvious that this is what females have been subject to -- so don't use what you despise.
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