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Why discriminate?

India is culturally and religiously a rich country. Indians worship several forms of female deities and every deity symbolises some unique characteristics. However, the contradiction lies in the mindset of a few Indian people who in spite of worshipping the divine female deities, show aversion towards women.
Gender inequality is all over the world but preference for a male child is found in India and some other countries.
As per the national statistics, the national average is 917 girls for 1,000 males. In some villages, this ratio is skewed to as much as 500 females for 1,000 males. To add to it, there are around 70 villages where girls were not born in the last decade.
The point to highlight is female foeticide where people abort female foetus or sometimes abandon newborn girls. Despite the existing law that prohibits sex determination, people find illegal ways to determine the gender of the foetus. In some rural areas, few elderly women follow ancient technique to determine the gender of the foetus by simply touching a pregnant woman’s stomach and feeling the pulse of the foetus.
As per the national census, the Indian rural population stands at approximately 66.5 per cent and the literacy rate is around 74 per cent with 66.5 per cent educated female and this rate varies from state to state and urban and rural areas. The urge for educating female child is low in most of the places in India.

Sons carry forward
family lineage

This is again another deep-rooted tradition of the patriarchal society that male members will take forward the family lineage. Daughters are not considered part of the family lineage and in many cases, ignored from the inheritance of wealth.
For ages, the mindset that sons should take care of parents continues. As we have moved to the 21st century, with both men and women getting education and earning their living, daughters and sons should be equally responsible for their parents.
It gave me an utmost sense of pride to read about the bold judgement of the Bombay High Court — “A married woman too is responsible for maintaining her parents.” This is really a huge step forward towards gender equality.
Our parents have struggled to educate both sons and daughters. So both sons and daughters should be equally responsible for their parents’ well-being.

Women vulnerable

The heinous crimes of rape, sexual assault and child trafficking have made people believe that girls are an added responsibility and bringing them up is a lot of additional burden. Girls should be made mentally and physically strong to fight the society and uproot the old thought process and stand up for themselves.

Religious factors

One of the most disturbing theories I have heard in these modern times is “to attain salvation, gain a son”. In other words, if one has no son, one’s soul will not liberate from the worldly attachments. Most of the customs related to putting the dead soul’s body to rest are performed by male members of the family. In case the dead person has no son, the rites and rituals are performed by other male members of the family but not the daughters.
In this modern era, the reasons might feel illogical and impractical but they are ingrained from generations and it is not possible to bring about radical changes in a day. It is not only the rural population but also the educated urban society that shows their preference towards male child.
In India, many urban families are trying to become nuclear with just one or two kids. However, if the first child is a girl, pressure builds up on the couple to deliver a second child hoping for a boy. It is really a matter of disgrace if we focus on the gender of the child before birth. Instead, the focus should be to deliver a healthy baby as the gender does not matter at all.
In this era when Indian societies are matching up with the most advanced societies of the world, gender discrimination should be the last thing in our minds.
Women are reaching the pinnacle of success and walking hand in hand with boys in most of the fields of work. The point to highlight is whether gender equality really justifies when both men and women have similar roles to play as mother or father, wife or husband, son or daughter, brother or sister etc. These roles are consistent throughout the world.
Do you think man can surpass the woman or vice versa? Well, there is never a race between them as both have to co-exist.
The discrimination is created by a superficial mankind, which needs to be buried forever.

(Contributed by Konkona

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