Hysteria – a word to make women feel insane for knowing what they know. ~ Eve Ensler, In The Body of the World
Girls Not Allowed
‘Sex selection is a rampant, multibillion dollar industry. That’s what keeps it going…’
There’s a moment in the documentary film ‘It’s a Girl’ that is at once chilling and heart-rending.
A woman smiles nervously as she starts to describe the methods she used to kill her eight new-born baby daughters.
Then she puts her hand up to her own neck, to indicate strangulation – and it’s almost as though she were doing it to herself. Which, in a way, she was.
We soon learn that several other women in her community in rural Tamil Nadu admit to similar measures to provide their husbands with a son.
Such brutal customs are rare in India today, sociologists say, and confined to certain isolated communities.
A far greater number of baby girls die more slowly – from neglect. Hence the shocking statistic: an Indian girl aged between one and five is 75 per cent more likely to die than a boy. It’s the worst under-five gender differential in the world.
But far more common than letting girls die today is another form of sex discrimination – making sure that girls aren’t born at all.
Skewing the world
Foetal imaging technology became widely available in the 1980s. Expectant parents in China and India, the planet’s most populous countries, were able to know the sex of the baby in the womb. And if they did not like what they saw, they could abort and try again.
The result of their choices: more boys. Many, many more boys. It is estimated that in China alone there will be 30-40 million more boys under the age of 19 by 2020 than girls. That’s equivalent to all the boys in the US.
Naturally, it also means far fewer girls. The latest global UN estimates are that 117 million females are missing. In other words, women and girls who would be alive now were it not for sex selection before birth or neglect and infanticide after. Imagine the entire female populations of Britain, Canada, Australia, Spain and France – all gone.