ZP Holds Meeting with NGOs on Declining Child Sex Ratio in DK
Mangaluru: A consultation meeting with the NGOs on declining sex ratio in Dakshina Kannada district was held at the Netravati Hall, Zilla Panchayat here on July 18.
Addressing the gathering Deputy Director, Department of Women and Child Development Sundar Poojary welcomed the gathering.
Briefing on the importance of the meeting Sundar Poojary said, “Today we have gathered here to discuss the declining child sex ratio (CSR) in our district. This is a serious issue for which a solution should be found. We need to find the reason why there is a decline in child sex ratio? Sometimes people want to have a micro family, some wanted to live separately after marriage. The WCD is holding various programmes to encourage girls to continue their education. Girls who score the highest marks are felicitated with cash prize and certificates. We have adopted the digital ‘Gudda-Guddi board’ programme as best practice under the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” scheme. Through this programme we are updating the monthly birth statistics of boys and girls in the district. When a baby girl is born, we gift Rs 1000 to the mother and encourage them to plant a coconut sapling as a mark of prosperity.”
Professor Department of PG Studies in Social Work (MSW) Dr Shirley T Babu speaking on the occasion said, ” The recent phenomenon of declining sex ratio of girls aged between 0-6 years has been increasing dangerously. Several studies have revealed the practices of eliminating girls by way of foeticide and infanticide which are rampantly practiced in various parts of India. Especially in states of Panjab, Haryana, Maharastra and Gujarath despite of improved economic standards, gross violations of the rights of females especially girls are occurring. The child sex ratios in these states have been ranging between 700 to 900 girls per 1000 boys between 0-6 years age category from 2001 onwards. Despite a law in force to prevent the misuse of New Reproductive Technologies and Pre-natal Diagnostic Test called as PCPNDT –ACT 1994 amended in 2003, elimination of daughters are done rampantly with the assistance of medical professionals by misusing technologies. The reason lies in the traditional ‘son preference’ attitude of people combined with access to modern medical technology. The same trend has been observed in DK district too in the latest census survey”.
Dr Shirley further said, “When I did a research on the decline in CSR I realized that the CSR in our country decreased between 2001 to 2011. There are many reasons for this. One of the main reasons behind this is the preference of society for a male child instead of a girl. Other reasons include; sons taking care of their parents in old age, exorbitant dowry demands, men being bread earners and sons to perform the last rites etc. Some couples want to have only a boy child and when they have a girl child, they immediately want the second baby. The importance the parents give to the boy is more than the girl. Even the pattern of nursing and parental care provided in relation to the growth of boy and girl is different. Even while educating the boy and girl is different. Some times parents want their daughters to settle in life at a young age and once they complete 18 years they get rid of their daughters by giving them in marriage.”
Dr Shirley also said, “We have met the lower caste, backward class and the upper-class people to study their child’s sexual preference. The lower caste said that they want boys for social security and the upper-class said that they want a son for religious purpose. Some said that when they send their daughter out they should be escorted. Educational Status of the Respondents Education plays an important role in the outlook and social and economic status of any individual. Based on the educational level of the parents the practices of child-rearing differ. The education of the person will have a profound impact on the values and belief systems held by the individual and the family.”
“Fertility is declining faster than expected in India, and when fertility declines, we see an increase in the intensity of preference for male children. Low sex ratio in our society is the result of; socio-cultural mindset, son preferences, increased crime rates on girls and their lower position making them burden to the family, and preferences for a small family. Female foeticide gives rise to another grave gender crime, that is trafficking of Women. They are bought, sold, resold and forced into to marriages in areas where foeticide has led ‘paucity’ of women”, stressed Dr Shirley.
Dr Rita Noronha speaking on the occasion said, “Earlier too there was rape, discrimination and domestic violence but was not highlighted. But now there is an improvement in women issues, atrocities against women are highlighted through the media. In this connection, we need to collect detailed data from every house in the district. We need to work at the village level and visit every house to study on the crime rate against women, their education etc. The livelihood of women is declining as women do not get proper jobs. In all social issues, we need to work on education and religion. The 5 facts we should not forget are Research, Analysis, Mindset, Culture and Institution. Sex screening centers should be monitored. We also need to find out how many departments are women-friendly?”
Later committees were formed to work on the decline of child sex ratio. The Director of DEEDS (Development Education Sevices) Merlyn Martis presided over the meeting.
District Family welfare Officer Dr Sikandar Pasha, CWC ZP Usman, Founder of Parivarthan Charitable Trust Violet Pereira, Anupama women’s monthly magazine chief editor Shahnaz M, Social activist Harini Shetty, Reshma, Vani Periodi, Sheena Shetty, CDPO of Vittal Pushpalatha, Bantwal CDPO Bharati, Mangaluru CDPO Usha, Police officer Anasuy and others were also present.