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India proposes 'National Girl Child Day' to discourage gender bias

January 07, 2009

In a bid to raise public awareness on the deep bias against female children in India, the country's federal government has decided to observe January 24 as 'national girl child day'. The federal cabinet approved the proposal as an effort to fight against the "scourges" of sex-selection abortion and malnutrition faced by baby girls.

India has one of the most skewed sex ratios in the world, with fewer than 925 women for every 1,000 men, due to the bias against baby girls. According to the Hindu tradition, a father cannot attain moksha unless he has a son to perform his last rites. This religious tenet gave rise to a system of requiring a substantial dowry for the marriage of a female child, thus making a girl an economic liability for parents of limited means. As a result, many couples choose abortion when they learn that an unborn child is female. According to federal government statistics, more than 10 million girls have been "missing" in India over the past two decades because of sex-selection abortion.


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