The Girl Child in India
AbstractThe present paper focuses on the issue of the girl child in India. Today we recognize that to try and improve the position of women one needs to look at the girl child who is a woman of tomorrow. Only when we rear female children with high self esteem not merely in recipient roles but in active productive roles with a concern for human dignity will we have strong and empowered women. In the Indian culture which idolizes sons and dreads the birth of a daughter, to be born female comes perilously close to being born less than human. Sophisticated medical technology now strengthens societal biases against girls in the form of prenatal sex determination tests which have resulted in an adverse female ratio. The paper discusses the findings of a study related to the girl child. It concludes that an integrated and a holistic approach to the girl child's development are essential for the creation of a new environment in which she van be valued and nurtured. The media, the family, the community as well as government and non-government organizations have to join hands. Only then will the girl child be able to work out of the maze of neglect in which she has been lost for centuries. Denied a sense of belonging to the family in which she is born and reared, she is treated and learns to think of herself as a lesser child and hence a lesser human being. Hence we have to start right at the beginning, to give her right to personhood, and this will come only after we give her a right to be born.