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Why is there any justification for female infanticide in India today?  Please explain...

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fisherman92 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 26, 2009 at 3:11 AM via web

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Why is there any justification for female infanticide in India today?  Please explain your answer in some detail so i can understand it better.

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sfamiss | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 26, 2009 at 6:24 AM (Answer #1)

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From what I know and understand, there is no justification for female infanticide because in a culture that values males, females are a burden.  When a son is of age, he will take a wife and continue to live with his parents and very often grandparents.  This ensures continued support of the family for years and years to come.  The cycle isn’t broken especially if this son has a son who will grow up and take a wife.  A daughter leaves the house to continue this tradition for another family. There is also a question of the dowry. Although formally outlawed, it can be a financial drain on a family.

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anzio45 | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted April 26, 2009 at 9:58 PM (Answer #2)

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The earlier answer correctly identifies the dowry as one of the reasons why female children are often less welcome in many Indian families. I don't know whether the situation is the same among poor families because many of the poorest could not afford a dowry anyway, but among the middle classes the desire for a male child is so strong that the abortion rate for female foetuses is - or at least was a few years ago - much higher than for males, so high in fact that there was fear on the part of the government that the gender balance in the country as a whole would be seriously affected over time. And a woman's failure to produce a male child has caused great brutality and even murder in very cruel ways including burning - a huge irony because gender is apparently determined from the father's side, not the mother's.

It's interesting that in some part of the world it the bride's side who have to provide the dowry, whereas in many African societies it is the opposite: the prospective husband has to pay the bride price. I'm not saying Africa is perfect in this regard because certain beliefs there also lead to children dying unnecessarily, but there is nothing like the negative attitudes towards daughters in India.

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dancer7 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted April 28, 2009 at 1:27 AM (Answer #3)

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sfamiss is right.

Bringing up a girl is ultimately investing in someone who will leave to be a benefit to another family.

Whereas a boy will remain in his parent's familiy and bring a girl to them upon his marriage.

So the longterm investment of bringing up a boy is 'profitable' but the longterm investment of bringing up a girl is 'wasted'

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