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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Female feticide: Documentation of a growing epidemic in India

Shravan Kumar Narmala, MBBS and Satya P. Rao, PhD, CHES. Health Science, New Mexico State University, P. O. Box 30001, MSC 3HLS, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001, 505-646-6714, phdsatya@aol.com

The Hindu Scripture sums up the unspoken Indian attitude towards female children; traditionally they were subjected to multifarious travails inflicted by society. In India, girl children have been most vulnerable for centuries and continue to be vulnerable to the insults of deprivation and discrimination. Female feticide is an act of killing the female fetus in the womb. In 1901, India's female to male sex ratio was 972:1000, considerably lower than the world-wide ratio during that time. In 1991, it fell to an all time low of 927:1000. Indian society is essentially patriarchal. Sons carry on the family name and are charged with supporting parents in old age. Daughters on the other hand become part of their husband's family after marriage and make limited contributions to their birth parents. The popular saying “Bringing up a girl is like watering a neighbor's plant,” exemplify the sense of wasted expenditure on raising a daughter. Indian men are responsible for the funeral rites of parents and some suggest that MOKSHA (Eternity) is attained through sons. Mass female feticide continues in India and other countries and is viewed as a major social and public health problem. 200 million females disappeared from India, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, West Asia and Egypt during the past century. Our presentation provides a historical review of the socio-cultural, socio-economic and other relevant factors that have contributed to feticide and continue to fuel this epidemic.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant will be able to

Keywords: Violence, Women

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

International Women's Health Issues

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA