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Female infanticide is the killing of a baby girl. Although the practice may be receiving more attention in modern society, the practice is not a new one. Infant girls have been killed as common practice in nearly every society at some point in history, but female infanticide is less common in Western societies today. China and India continue to have high rates today. Perhaps one reason is that female infanticide is often related to poverty. Girls are simply valued less in many societies than are boys, especially in the poorest places where boys can contribute more "work" value to a family. Girls are seen as a burden. This type of infanticide is often due to sex-selection of the child. For example, families in China are restricted to one child, so often female babies are unwanted. The killing of an infant isn't always considered as serious a crime as the killing of an older child or an adult. In 2009, a bill was introduced in Texas that would make two years the maximum sentence for infanticide by a mother with a postpartum disorder.
The phenomenon of female infanticide is as old as many cultures, and has likely accounted for millions of gender-selective deaths throughout history. It remains a critical concern in a number of "Third World" countries today, notably the two most populous countries on earth, China and India. In all cases, specifically female infanticide reflects the low status accorded to women in most parts of the world; it is arguably the most brutal and destructive manifestation of the anti-female bias that pervades "patriarchal" societies. It is closely linked to the phenomena of sex-selective abortion, which targets female fetuses almost exclusively, and neglect of girl children.
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