Saturday, October 29, 2011

Save the girl child

Three life-threatening practices that impact the lives of millions of girl children:

Female Infanticide, Female Genital Cutting, 
Honor Killing

Female infanticide is the murder of a young girl child, often occurring as a deliberate murder of a girl infant or young girl child or as the result of neglect. Selective abortion – also called gender-selective abortion, sex-selective abortion, or female feticide – is the abortion of a fetus because it is female. Medical technology has made it possible for parents to discover the sex of a fetus at earlier and earlier stages of pregnancy, so many women from communities with a preference for boys practice selective abortion. 

Discrimination Against the Girl Child

Facts and Statistics

  • Currently, 60 million girls are reported as “missing” as a result of infanticide, sex selective abortions, and neglect
  • At least 130 million girls alive today have undergone Female Genital Mutilation, and 2 million more are at risk every year
  • It is reported that at least 5,000 women and girls are murdered each year for “honor’s sake” by members of their own families
  • United Nation statistics, national reports and studies initiated by non-governmental organizations repeatedly show that girls, as a group, have lower literacy rates, receive less health care, and more impoverished than boys


  • In the United States, one-third of women murdered each year are killed by intimate partners.
  • In South Africa, a woman is killed every 6 hours by an intimate partner.
  • In India, 22 women were killed each day in dowry-related murders in 2007.
  • In Guatemala, two women are murdered, on average, each day.


  • Women and girls comprise 80 percent of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked annually, with the majority (79 percent) trafficked for sexual exploitation. 

Harmful Practices

  • Approximately 100 to 140 million girls and women in the world have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting, with more than 3 million girls in Africa annually at risk of the practice.
  • More than 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18, primarily in South Asia (31.1 million and Sub-Saharan Africa (14.1 million).

Sexual Violence against Women and Girls

  • An estimated 150 million girls under 18 suffered some form of sexual violence in 2002 alone.
  • As many as 1 in 4 women experience physical and/or sexual violence during pregnancy which increases the likelihood of having a miscarriage, still birth and abortion.
  • Up to 53 percent of women physically abused by their intimate partners are being kicked or punched in the abdomen.
  • In Sao Paulo, Brazil, a woman is assaulted every 15 seconds.
  • In Ecuador, adolescent girls reporting sexual violence in school identified teachers as the perpetrator in 37 percent of cases.

Rape as a method of warfare 

  • Approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were raped in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
  • In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, at least 200,000 cases of sexual violence, mostly involving women and girls, have been documented since 1996, though the actual numbers are considered to be much higher.

Cost of Violence against Women

  • Domestic violence alone cost approximately USD 1.16 billion in Canada and USD 5.8 billion in the United States. In Australia, violence against women and children costs an estimated USD 11.38 billion per year.

Sexual Harassment

  • Between 40 and 50 percent of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advancements, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at their workplace.
  • In the United States, 83 percent of girls aged 12 to 16 experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools. 

Why Females ?

According to CBC News writer Jeremy Copeland, a proverb “Raising a girl is like watering the neighbour’s garden” generally sums up the way girls in India are seen - as an economic burden on their parents. Parents about to marry off their daughters in India usually have to pay for the wedding and give a large dowry to the groom’s family. Though formally outlawed, the practice of dowry is still pervasive in Indian society. This can run ridiculously beyond ones means as an average civil servant earns about 100,000 rupees a year (US$3,500) while the combination of dowry and wedding expenses usually add up to more than a million rupees (US$35,000) - Porras, “Female Infanticide and Foeticide”.

 How You Can Help ?

If you are interested in helping to stop female infanticide, sex-selective abortion, female genital cutting, or honor killing, you can start by embracing an attitude of sensitivity to the specific issues girls face and disseminating ideas of gender equality to people you interact with – colleagues, students, children, lawmakers, and friends. You can support organizations, like Youth Advocate Program International, whose work addresses discrimination against the girl child, write letters to government officials to raise their concerns and encourage them to act aggressively against a specific practice, and get involved in grassroots organizing which can lead to local, national, and international improvement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your info. I would like to know more. I just watched a program on fox news about an abortion dr on trial for the murder of little babies and it just shocked me! So I got on the wed looking for more info on the fox story and came across your blog. I wasn't sure how to do the identity thing so I signed anonymous and left you this email so I could talk to you more.