Where are the girls? And what does this have to do with inflated gold prices and fluctuation in the international markets?
(News Credit : The Conversation)
Gold prices are up, and in South Asia this can mean only one thing. For parents of daughters, the rising fear that their dowry will increase puts immense stress on families and communities that still adhere to this abhorrent practice. In many cases, this news results in baby girls not surviving their first month of life. Shocking as it may sound, the statistics indicate that dowry, which was once used for a daughter’s financial protection, and now a condition imposed by the groom and his family, is about 6 times the amount of an average household income. No wonder that families start saving for it as soon as a girl is born.
In other cases, the neonatal mortality rate of a girl child is directly proportional to the fluctuations in the international markets especially since India imports 90% of its gold. Either due to lack of proper nutrition in older girls or decreased breastfeeding in baby girls – both of which are done on purpose during periods of inflated gold prices – the chances of a girl having a normal adulthood are very low.
Social norms prevent the uprising of communities to such practices, on the contrary, abortion of female fetuses and female infanticide are on the rise in response to the markets. Gold prices are published along with other financial stats on every newspaper and the common man is more than aware of the situation they might find themselves in. The only ray of hope for girl children in India, is education and increased awareness. Or else it could be that the favored male child may not even have a woman to marry, as birth statistics have shown.