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Why does female infanticide happen?

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abhi13 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 18, 2013 at 9:53 AM via web

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Why does female infanticide happen?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 18, 2013 at 10:29 AM (Answer #1)

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The main reason as to why female infanticide happens is because of social preference for boys over girls.  Social devaluing of girls and valuing of boys is why the aborting of a female fetus and the killing of girl children happens.  The history of female infanticide has been worldwide and seen for a good period of time.  For example in 19th Century India, female infanticide occurred when women would bury  girl children alive in the ground, with cane sugar and cotton while chanting: Gur kaayeen punee kateen, aap na ayeen bhayee nuu khaleen" (Eat sugar, weave cotton, don't come back, send your brother.)  It is in the closing idea to this chant of "send your brother" where the reason for female infanticide happens.  Social customs in many cultures suggest that girl children bring woes while boy children bring boons. 

Societies that would embrace female infanticide suggest a preference for boys over girls.  In these social settings, girls are seen as financial drains because of issues such as low wage productivity, marriage plans that have to be paid along with dowries attached, as well as limited career options.  " The female child is increasingly seen as a high input and no output investment."  These social attitudes lead to a devaluing of women, and thus enabling female infanticide to happen. While laws have been established to outlaw it, these do not seem to stop female infanticide from happening.

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