Dr Neelam Singh is on the front line of India’s battle to save its girls.
Modern medical technology – specifically ultrasounds for determining the baby’s sex – coupled with ancient cultural values which give preference to boys, mean that hundreds of thousands of girls are never being born.
There were only 914 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of six in India, according to the 2011 census, compared with 927 for every 1,000 boys in the 2001 census. Today’s ratio is the highest imbalance since the country won independence in 1947.
“I feel the demand [for abortions] every day,” Singh told Al Jazeera. “Parents say it’s important to have a son in the family. They want to keep their family name. I see this as the most heinous kind of discrimination towards a girl child.”
A gynecologist in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, Singh has witnessed population growth at a rate of 20 per cent. Out of a population of almost 200 million, men outnumber women by nearly 10 million.
The world’s population will hit seven billion later in October, according to the UN, and the problem of imbalanced gender ratios is getting worse in several regions.
Categories: Asia, India, Women Rights
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