Vrinda Sharma (March 8, 2011). “Earlier families wanted at least one son; now they want one son only.” The Hindu.
Indo Asian News Service (IANS) (May 23, 2011). “Even rich, educated abort second girl child, shows study.”
Overall decline in national girl-to-boy sex ratio is alarming. However, in Punjab, low sex ratio at birth (728 per 1,000 births) and extremely low sex ratio of last births (504 per 1,000 males) (National Family Health Survey (NFH)-III 2005-06) are shocking. InPunjab, a strong desire to have “small families”, consisting of one male child only, would have dire consequences for the society. If everyone wants a male child only and technology abuse continues to facilitate female foeticide, after some time there will be only male children who will inherit a desire to have male successors. Then, who will bear male successors? If there are not enough women!
Unkindness and hatred towards girl child may be encouraging people to become gay / lesbian or remain single. To some extent, becoming gay / lesbian may satisfy your physical needs and help in keeping loneliness at bay. But, how these three sections of society, which cannot even reproduce, can produce male successors.
Technology is not the only culprit. Major problem lies in cynical mindset that considers a girl child as a burden on the family and the society, follows biased and ridiculous traditions, and promotes social stigmas attached to womanhood.
To improve sex ratio, we need to review a basic question: Why do we produce kids at all? The answer is to have a safe and secure old age, to carry forward family name, to have someone to share life with and to fulfill physical needs. Kids are also a medium to meet parents’ all sort of unfulfilled aspirations. These facts evidently support our selfish nature.
Ironically, in current social setup, a girl child can neither provide support to her parents in old age, when every one needs extra support and care, nor carry forward family name. For, she has to leave her parents’ house to enjoy her conjugal rights. And, children take father’s surname. Traditions thus prevent her from fulfilling her two basic obligations towards her parents. Marrying a daughter therefore not only becomes a mental trauma but also a financial burden due to many other lopsided traditions like dowry.
So, we need to attack the root causes that make her so undesirable. I suggest:
Children should take both parents’ name, as producing and bringing up kids is a joint venture. Both parents should get credit for that.
We have innovated ways to arrive at average life expectancy that is used to make important decisions, such as retirement age. Why not calculate an average married life span? Couples may spend part of the “married life span” in husbands’ house and other part in wives’ house. This may also help in solving dowry issues. The point is, “Why should a girl leave her house?”