This article examines how orthodox ideas of ‘women empowerment’ have changed for women living in the context of insecurity, examining many facts related to declining ‘Child Sex Ratio’ (CSR) in throughout India. The article explains, what kind of sex ratio we have in India, provides fluctuating official data of ‘decreasing child sex ratio’ in the country, reasons behind decreasing the CSR and wayout to equalise the same in India. It is observed that number of girls as against boys in certain states is declining which is a matter of great concern. The females are even coerced to give birth to male child. Notably, India has 63 million ‘missing’ women and 21 million unwanted girls. In such circumstances education of women needs to be used and effective means for their empowerment and education will prepare them to have a control over their lives. The mindset which militates against the girl child could not keep pace with Political, Economic progress and literacy. So there is a dire need to review the ongoing strategies and re-examine the several efforts which formulated by several agencies to cycle the declining rate of CSR in India.
DECLINING ‘CHILD SEX RATIO’ IN INDIA
Menace of missing girls after having several efforts of Government, NGO’s and the UN is may able to flow the decreasing sex ratio in India. The gender ratio is on descending order since 1991 to 2001. In 1991 it was 945 for 1000 boys and in 2001 it came the number in 927. Further, the government has identified 100 gender critical district in the country where child sex ratio is very low. Haryana state has 12 gender critical district and has lowest sex ratio in the country which just 834 girls for 1000 boys. Followed by Punjab which has 11 such districts and 846 girls for 1000 boys. Apart from these Maharastra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh each with 10 such districts are in the third spot. Girls in 0 to 6 years bracket was plummeted even in those state where the sex ratio was not unhealthy, Dadar and Nagar haveli had 1013 girls in 1991 which has decreased 926 in 2011. Similarly, Andhra Pradesh has decreased from 975 in 1991 to 939 in 2011 and West Bengal from 967 to 956.
In the north east Manipur, Meghalya and Nagaland have shown a decline from 974 to 936, 986 to 970 and 993 to 943 respectively only Mizoram has shown little correction from 969 to 970. Punjab which has 11 critical district shown good improvement from 789 in 2001 to 846 in 2011. Kerala has also shown an overall improvement from 958 in 1991 to 960 in 2001 and 964 in 2011, Himachal Pradesh which had decreased from 951 in 1991 to 896 in 2001 as increased its ratio to 909 in 2011. In the recent years innumberable crimes against women, increased cases of rape and abortions are shows the ‘ugly condition’ of women. Meanwhile, the current Prime Minister of India Spoke about the declining child sex ratio in the country recently and why we should be concerned about it. The child ratio has been on the declining mode since 1991 and currently is the worst since independence. Girls for every 1000 boys in 1991 it went down to 927 in 2001 and 918 in 2011.
The study of reports says that, All except 2 religious communities saw a decline in their child sex ratio between 2001-2011. On the one hand, Sikhs recorded a tremendous rise in the population of girls in their community as the sex-ratio climbed from a laggardly 786 to 828 in a matter of 10 years whereas on the other hand, Jains also recorded a rise from 870 to 889 girls per 1000 boys in the community. Hindus, who make up 80% of the population of the country, saw their child sex ratio come down from 925 to 913 between 2001-2011, in line with Muslims, Christians and Buddhists.
Historically, however, general sex ratio has been steadily increasing across urban as well as rural areas in the country for the last twenty years. And this can be seen as a silver lining for now, even though there are fears that a decreasing CSR poses a danger to the future population of women in the country as well. Meanwhile, continued to display a healthier trend in rural areas of the country as compared to urban ones. CSR in rural areas according to the 2011 Census was 923 girls per 1000 boys while in urban areas it was a measly 905 which pulled down the nationwide ratio as well.
Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance- Kofi Annan.
Thus, The highest spiritual sphere were within the reach of both Men and Women and latter needed no masculine assistance. Historically, the culture of India provides a time when women had liberty and these existed a much more society then what is now? The position of ancient India it is clear from the evidence in Rig-Veda and we may check the earliest literature of the Indo-Aryans that women held an honorable place in early Indian Society. There were a few Rig-Vedic hymns composed by women in which female had access the highest knowledge and could participate in all religious and political activities.
REASON BEHIND DECLINING ‘CSR’
The causes for decreasing CSR in India is mainly the socio-culture mindset, having desires for ‘sons’, thinking girls as a burden in patriarchal form of society and will for small family. Further, easy access of technology for sex determination test and abortions services may be a catalyst in the declining child sex ratio. Exorbitant dowry demand is another reason for female infanticide. Many government laws and schemes have focused on curving female infanticide and effective policies for girls but very little seems to have change. Noting that the study further showed that Indians have a “meta” son preference, which means that if they have girls, they’ll keep on having children until they get a boy.
In other words, The belief that it is only the ‘son’ who can perform the last rites, that lineage and inheritance runs through the male line, sons will look after parents in old age, men are the bread winners etc. Notably, it has led to an estimated 21 million “unwanted” girls in India, who often get less nourishment and schooling than their brothers. Further, The Indian government argued that there were more than 63 million women “missing” from its population and that 2 million go “missing” across age groups every year because of abortion of female fetuses, disease, neglect and inadequate nutrition.
Notably, The CSR in India has always been skewed in North western India and the Literature on CSR pointed out a clear division between North West and South east pattern of female survival disadvantage. The reasons of child masculinity in north western states have been explained by the cultural practice and kinship structure which attaches lesser utility to female children than male children and produces social norms hostile for the survival of a girl child. Unfortunately, Many researchers attributed the decline in the CSR to a possible rise in the sex ratio at birth owing to the increasing incidence of sex selective abortion (e.g. as Gupta and Bhat, 1997, Sudha and Rajan, 1999).
The decline child sex ratio is both due to discrimination of female child at the age of 1-4 and sex selective abortion practices which is widely prevalent in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Sex differentials in child mortality in ages 1-5 indicate a huge excess mortality for girls as the result of discrimination against female children in terms of food, nutrition and health care indicators. The 21st century has seen multitude problems related to social, economic, political, domestic and women is facing many problems due to these multidimensional problems. Due to liberal democratic constitution India has had female heads of state and women chief ministers. Thus, in a sense eastern civilization can be conceived to be much more liberal in way accepting women leaders in the political sphere.
Hindu Mythology: Among the Four Yugas
Satyug: Study reveals that women then enjoyed a privileged position, had all the ‘four pillars’ of Dharma and its history. They were, treated as better halves as ‘Graha Lakshmi’. There were no bar of veil system. It Equivalent to men they used to participate wisely in the religious debates in the vedic era. Tretayug: Following the advent of Tretayug, which had ‘three pillars’ of Dharma left and therefore the world witnessed the abduction of Sita, which resulted in tragic end of Ravana. Dwaparyug: In Dwaparyug when Draupadi was publicly disrobed, it resulted in the world’s biggest war of ‘Mahabharat’, it shows that slowly and steadily there were only a pillars of Dharma remained. Kalyug: Finally, in the present era of Kalyug, the world is surviving only on the ‘one pillar’ of Dharma and therefore the position of women has deteriorated from bad to worst.
Although, During the Muslim Rule, women were deprived of all their rights of equality. They became the object of lust and enjoyment only. The rulers had ‘Harum’ in their palaces. Afterwards, Hindu rulers followed the suit. While in the wake of British Empire in India, a considerable change was felt. They threw up the ‘purdah system’ and induced the Indian women to come forward. Not only the Britishers but also Indian freedom fighters tried a lot for women empowerment. The contribution of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dayanand Saraswati, Mahatma Gandi, Annie Besant, Rani Lakshmi Bai, Swami Vivekanand and cannot be forgotten. Gandhiji once truly said ‘when you educate a man you educate a family and when you educate a woman you educate whole nation or society’. In the post independence era, the bundle of rights, immunities, privileges are conferred upon Indian women. All the three organs of State fully on the path of contribution in strengthening the status of women in India.
Have we seen our Sex Ratio? Who is creating this imbalance? Not, God, I appeal to the doctors not to kill the girls child in the mother’s womb. I request the parents not to kill daughters because they want a son. Don’t Kill daughter in the womb, it is a blot on 21st century India. I have seen families where one daughter serves parents more than five sons. Prime Minister’s Desk. As part of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ Campaign, Prime Minister of India launched a scheme called ‘sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY)’, that means ‘Girl Child Prosperity Scheme’ in line with the above goals. In order to majorly address the issue of declining child sex ratio, Government of India Launched a social compaign- BBBP, on the 22nd of January 2015. Moreover, Over Rs 250 crore was spent on the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme in the last three fiscals, the Rajya Sabha on July 26, 2018.
The Union Government of India has taken various steps to uplift the ‘status of women’ by implementing Several schemes including free education for girls in order to achieve and promote girls education, UGC has introduced a Post Graduate Indira Gandhi Scholarship for single girl child with an aim to compensate direct costs of girl education to all levels especially for such girls who happen to be the only girl child in their families.
The sex ratio at birth has also shown improvement in 104 of the 161 districts studied, Minister of State for Women and Child Development (WCD). In 2015-16, Rs 59.37 crore was spent, and in 2016-17 and 2017-18, Rs 28.65 crore and about Rs 169.10 crore were spent respectively. So far, in 2018-19, Rs 25.40 crore has been spent. Further, the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign started by the Prime Minister aimed to spread awareness on saving the girl child and providing them an equal education. Above government scheme was driven to stop the discrimination against the female child and the rising cases of female foeticides. It was among the first programmes that current political dispensation started aimed at cycle the issue of declining CSR and educating the girl child throughout India. It has led to significant improvement in the CSR in various parts of India, taken the shape of a vibrant mass movement that is changing mindsets all over.
Increased women participation in the public sphere and maternity leave, day care centre and the workplace, increased gender sensitisation are some of the steps taken to improve the status of women. This will improve a current bottom ranking of India in the gender inequality index. The Indian constitution is a Self proved to setup an example by including as a provision in the directive principle of the state policy Article 51 A (e), which exemplify the renounce. Despite all of this, The spatial dimension of discrimination presented above leads to conclusions that sex ratio is more skewed in the most urbanised and economically well off states of north and western region. Conversely, the relative under developed and less urbanised population of central and eastern region have higher child sex ratio. Many of the factors associated with gender bias in India discussed previously more in the context of north south cultural contrast (Dyson & Moore 1983). The maps show obvious regional contrast but it also indicates a strong level of geographical continuity. Thus geography of CSR variations remain as an issue of discussion through the su-perimposed sociocultural frames that really deserves attention. Please save our girl-child, there is a urgent need to review the strategies and re-examine the several efforts to cycle the declining rate of CSR in India.
Author, Trilok Singh, M.A. Political Science, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. Founder and CEO of Youth Darpan Media, IASmind and Managing Director at VSSKK NGO, India. Studying in Rau’s IAS Study Circle, New Delhi.
Note 1: This article is carried in the Online edition of July-August 2018 issue of India’s Journal and updated here on 27-08-2018.