24 Million Missing Girls

by genevieve.asselin on April 14, 2016 - 5:41pm

A lot of cultures around the world are discriminatory towards women. The oppression of a patriarchal society resulted in sex discrimination. Too often, girls get discriminated before they see the light. Sex-selective abortions, occur when a fetus has the undesired sex. All around the world, there is demographic gap of 24 million missing girls (Sex Selective Abortion). This issue is dominant in countries of Asia as in China or India.

In India 12,771 (recorded) sex-selective abortions occurred in the last 14 years (Sex Selective Abortion). The Indian culture explains the prevalence of this practice. The relation male versus female is contrasting with our occidental view. A boy is mandatory in a family. The status of a man in this society is much higher than the one of women. He also has the future responsibility to take care of his parents when they get older. In a way, having a boy in the family gives a certain security for the family, but also allows for the family continuity. Women are devalued in India. There is an omnipresent feeling of ownership towards women: “girls are transitory members of a family - they marry and leave home"(Selective Abortion). Girls are basically given to another family when they get married. Moreover, the pressure exerted on mothers who are trying to get a boy is very intense. The boy brings the honour in the family.

Many international organizations and occidental countries advocated for the rights of these unborn girls. Without being pro-life, they claimed that abortions do not have their place in the case of sex matter. “The fetus should not be exposed to ultrasound for commercial and entertainment purposes, and it could be considered unethical to perform these scans” (Kirkey). They characterize the action as unfair and discriminatory towards unborn girls.

The Indian culture imposes pressure on something women have no control over. The rights of women are questioned in this situation, but also the rights of an unborn baby. The question has been controversial and sensitive since abortion has been a relentless fight. Should we forbid the acknowledgment of the sex in order to stop discrimination?

Indians laws forbid this type of abortion, but the implementation of this law is poor. Reinforcing the law will not change the situation. Discrimination will still be there. Women will probably try to get abortion unsafely. More broadly, the real changes have to be made in the place given to women in the society. Decline in sex-ratio was much greater in mothers who were educated compared with poorer households (Jha 121). To attain gender equality, a greater political, economic, social equity must be given to women.

Work cited:

Jha, Prabhat, et. al. “Trends in selective abortions of girls in India: analysis of nationally representative birth histories from 1990 to 2005 and census data from 1991 to 2011.” The Lancet 377.9781: (2011): 1921-1928. Web. 14 Apr. 2016.

Kirkey, Sharon. “Rise in sex-based abortions prompts doctors to call for end to ultrasounds that only determine gender of fetus.” National Post. National Post, 19 Feb. 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2016.

“Selective Abortion.” BBC. BBC, 2014. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

“Sex Selective Abortion.” Population Research Institute. Population Research Institute, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.


I think that the greatest problem in this case is not the wrongful application of the laws prohibiting sex-based abortions but it rather relates to the culture around getting a boy that needs to change. However, it is something that is quite easier to say that do since changing the mentality of a nation is a lot harder than changing the view of a single person, but I feel like it is going to happen by itself as by giving some time to it, there would be a snowball effect of the consequences of having less girls and the effects are going to be felt by the people of India which will cause a shift of mentality. I also think that for now what the government of India can do is simply to reinforce the laws and educate people about the subject. Otherwise, I feel that it was a great article which highlighted really well the controversy and problem around the gender based abortions in Asian countries.

The culture of ''strong boy and weak female'' has to stop! I am myself the consequences of what sex discrimination does. What I mean is that I was adopted because girls are supposedly less valuable in a family than a boy. Today, it is not rare to see a single mom raising her family by herself without the help of a man. This just proves how women are as capable as men in achieving their goals. Abortion and masking the sex of the baby are the easy way out for the Government of India. Educating a whole country about gender equality is much harder, but it will have longer lasting effects than a single law. Moreover, abortion is expensive, but change your view costs nothing.

I do believe that it is unfortunate how woman are downgraded all around the world till this exact day. Why is it that this happens? Genetically speaking woman and men are partially the same, out of the 46 genes 45 of them are unisex and it's been proven that woman and men have the same amount of intelligence, knowledge and happiness. It is unfortunate that this has to happen for a woman to get an abortion just because of the sex of their child. I think that unacceptable to do that to any person just because of their sex, i understand if was for one's personal reasoning/choice for both parties to agree because they are not ready or because of a sexual assault etc. but if a woman is to get an abortion just because of the child's sex isn't right. Aren't we suppose to be living a liberal democratic society and to be considered all equal and free?