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Free maternity service to fight female infanticide

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New Delhi: Dr Ganesh Rakh, the founder of Medicare Hospital Foundation Trust in the suburban area of Pune, does not charge fees if an infant girl is born in the hospital. His initiative is a measure to fight against the social biases and prejudices of the girl child.

Till date, he has done over 144 such deliveries, both natural and caesarean. The hospital not only exempts maternity charges but distributes sweets to celebrate the birth of a girl child.

In the year 2007, he set up a 25-bed maternity hospital in Pune. The hospital is dedicated to helping the underprivileged patients. Today, people are more aware of his initiative and so, the intensity of his work has increased.

He believes that the social norms are suppressive towards the girl child.He also points out the trauma a mother has to go through when a girl child is born.

“Female infanticide is rampant because regressive social norms are not only anti-women but are even an anti-girl child. As a medical professional, I have seen the torture that a mother undergoes when she comes to know that she has delivered a girl,” said Dr Rakh in an interview with Deccan Herald.

This psychological pain of the mother and prejudice against the girl child led him to take the decision to not claim maternity fees if the child born is a girl.

This has inspired a social movement which was not even anticipated by him. “After reading media reports about my work, I was contacted by nearly 17-18-gram panchayats and hundreds of doctors who have not only promised to stop sex determination tests and abortions but welcome girl children by motivating families,” he added in the interview.

His initiative against Female infanticide has trickled out with the help of his batch-mates and doctors working in the surrounding districts. Till now over 3,000 doctors from the peripheries of Maharashtra have united in his cause of ending the hostile social prejudices and impartialities towards the girl child.

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International Girl Child Day: Celebrating Birth of a Girl Child

International Girls day is celebrated every year on 11th October in order to give the girl child the respect and dignity she deserves.

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International Girl Child Day
On this International Girl Child Day, let’s be a part of a world which celebrates the girl child and let’s do our bit in making the world a better place. Maxpixel

International Girl Child Day has been declared by the United Nations on the 11th October every year in order to celebrate the importance of the girl child. On the occasion of International Girl Child Day, let’s help to spread awareness about the various problems faced by the girl child.

Perception 

The common perception of any society, sees girls are often considered to be inferior to boys. Discrimination against girls is unchecked, Due to fear of exploitation, they are not sent to schools and denied the right to a decent education.

Due to fear of exploitation parents do not send girl child to schools. Pixabay

Female Foeticide

Female Foeticide is an issue which is prevalent in the urban and mostly in the rural areas. People who are ill-informed believe that a girl child is inferior to a boy and thus will not be able to help the family in any way other than increasing the burden of feeding another mouth on them.

Save a Girl Child and protect a woman’s Dignity.

 

Child Marriage

Child marriage is another important issue because of which girls are forced to drop out from their education at a very early age.  India has the highest number of girls forced into marriage under the legal age of 18 accounting for 10 million child brides in the world.

It accounts for more than 70000 deaths each year relating to maternal deaths from pregnancy and childbirth. They also become victims of domestic abuse and the dowry system.

In some parts of the country, family marries off the girl in early age in order to save their economic burden. The reason for child marriage being so prevalent even today lies in the dowry system practised by a large portion of the educated lot.

A 16-year-old girl stands inside a protection home on the outskirts of New Delhi, Nov. 9, 2012. She was rescued by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement), a charity which rescues victims of bonded labor. voa

Girl Child Health

In the rural areas, the health facilities are not very developed. If there is a choice between the girl and boy, most of the people will make sure that the boy remains healthy in the hope of him supporting the family in future. Health facilities are the basic amenities of life and are meant to be used by everybody equally. In India, several girl children die of malnutrition and diseases before the age of 6.  Higher rates of child marriage lead to maternity deaths arising from complications in pregnancy and giving birth and it also increases the chances of the stillborn infant.

Girl Child Trafficking

Girl child trafficking is the defined as the trade any girl child under the age of 18 for the purpose of exploitation whether inside or outside the country.  According to the National Crime Record Bureau, one child disappears in every eight minutes. Mostly these children are underage girls. They are taken from their homes and sold in the market for the purpose of begging, labor, and sexual exploitation.  Sometimes it is their own family members who sell them for the need of money or just because they think she is a burden.

Child Marriage
According to the National Crime Record Bureau, one child disappears in every eight minutes. Wikimedia

On this International Girl Child Day, let us be a part of a world which celebrates the girl child and do our bit in making the world a better place.  A very much needed change in the society is the change in the attitude of the people. They should understand the fact that girls are equal to boys in all aspects and should be given equal respect and liberty.

The childhood of a girl can be preserved if we as a society come together and make sure she is nurtured, cherished, protected and should be given freedom to choose her life the way she wants to live.

(The facts were first published by CRY ).

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Decline in Sex Ratio: IRS Officer Hari Narayan Meena on a Mission to ‘Save Girl Child’ in Jaipur, Rajasthan

Hari Narayan Meena has been sacrificing his free time and holidays for the past 7 years for saving girl child in Jaipur

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Girl Child in India. Image source: ww.pagalguy.com
  • Hari Narayan Meena has taken the noble initiative of making people aware about the importance of ‘saving girl child’ along with his wife, Hemlata Meena
  • They also have pasted over 2,000 stickers with messages about saving the girl child on trucks 
  • The couple has also provided 1,500 girls with books and other educational materials

“Be the change you want to see” is absolutely synonymous with Jaipur-based IRS officer, Hari Narayan Meena. With a selfless approach in mind, this man from Jaipur has been devoting his free time and holidays for the past 7 years as he felt accountable for a noble cause. He has taken the initiative of making people aware about the importance of ‘saving girl child’ along with his wife, Hemlata Meena. He is currently posted as a Joint Commissioner (Excise) in Delhi.

While speaking to indiatimes.com, he said, “When I was preparing for civil services, I was surprised to learn that when India was progressing in other sectors, the sex ratio was constantly on the decline since the Independence of the country. I thought what could be the reason for declining sex ratio. I started people making aware about it.”

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Along with his wife Hemlata Meena, he has visited several houses in Vidhyadhar Nagar, C-Scheme, and Raja Park in Jaipur to talk to people about this issue. He would also go to the Central Park in Jaipur to distribute pamphlets among morning walkers. Some think that he is there to collect donations while some ignore him.The various reactions he has received from the people has not affected his determination. Prior to Delhi, he was posted in Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, said the indiatimes report.

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Educating a female child. Image Source:A Daring

Hemlata Meena is a lecturer and the couple comes up with many other interesting ways to take their mission forward. They have been talking to truck drivers and urging them to spread the message forward. They also have pasted over 2,000 stickers with messages about saving the girl child on trucks. They have set the target of pasting messages on at least 10,000 trucks. The couple has also provided 1,500 girls with books and other educational materials.

-prepared by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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Girls Count: Uprooting patriarchy by recognizing the role of civil society

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By Rukma Singh

In 1901, there were 3.2 million fewer women than men in India – a hundred years later the deficit increased over 10 times to 35 million at the time of Census 2001. The most disturbing decline is seen in the age group 0-6 years. The sex ratio (number of girls for every 1000 boys) within this age group plunged from 1010 in 1941 to 918 in 2011.

To recognize and mobilize support for the broader problem of gender-based discrimination, many organizations have sprung up in the past few years. But one organization which has concentrated focus on the utmost important issue of sex selection is Girls Count.

Girls Count is a coalition of organizations :  NGOs, Activists, individuals working all over the country around the related issues of gender discrimination, gender inequality and various forms of violence against women. The main motive of setting up the organization was to address the decline in the number of girls. It is very important to understand the role that the state, the media, and most importantly the civil society has played, to tackle the problems of sex selection.

Recognizing the role of civil activism

To create a cohesive strategy to tackle an issue as pressing as sex selection and declining sex ratio, the wisest thing to do is to build a base in the civil society. Instead of having a dispersed group of people who don’t know about the activities of each other, it’s better to create an interconnected team that can plan and execute the strategy.

10703921_682662405165046_1042670891661405425_nGirls Count decided to focus on challenging patriarchy and effective implementation of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Technique act. They had carried out country-wide dialogue with civil society, media and government officials.

Usage of Media and communications

When it comes to reaching out to people, sensitizing them at a large scale, it is imperative to bring about the proper usage of media and communications to get the right message across. Girl Count recognized the power of media to send messages across effectively. People were mobilized, petitions were signed, an online country wide community was built.

Geographical variations
The problem of sex selection is more prevalent in the Northern region of India as compared to the other parts. One would argue that the main reason behind this is the difference in literacy rate. However, the main issue is prosperity which gives more choices to the people. They have a greater decision-making power. So the main problem comes not from the absence of literacy, but from the abundant presence of prosperity. 10687034_681213801976573_2942313692869556197_n

What adds to it is how the two don’t go hand in hand. In today’s time, one does not have to be literate to be prosperous.

Cultural differences
There are several culture-based differences between North India and the rest of the country. In North-East India, for example, the condition of women and preference given to them is better and higher.  Some states in North East also break the age old custom of dowry and decline it. Females aren’t considered an economic liability in most of the North East.

The sex selection practices started from the northern states of Punjab and Haryana, and soon extended to Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh etc.

Following a lot of protest and agitation, the PNDT law was first passed in Maharashtra. But it was a state specific law.

Usage of advertisement


Equipments relating to sex selection, like sex selection kits and books teaching methods to increase chances of having a boy are very easily available. Girls Count decided to look at e-retailers to find out how easy it is to source ‘Sex selection publications’ in India. To everyone’s surprise, there were four e-retailers who were dealing in the sale of such products, which included some big names like Flipkart, Naaptol, Amazon.

For mainstream e-retailers like these to be dealing in the sale of such publications was a huge encouraging factor for people who’re used to shopping online. For public, if it can be bought, it’s legal.

With the continued efforts of Girls count in the form of a petition and mobilizing support for it, the websites were pressurized to take these products down. This was one of the biggest successes of the organization.

Pre-Natal sex determination continues to be a pressing problem all throughout the country. But with the combined efforts of organizations like these who understand the true essence of activism, as well as continued participation from the civil society, it is a problem that can hopefully be uprooted.