I’m writing this article on my own accord and not on behalf of the GOPIO Women’s Council. The view of point that I will represent in this article is my personal opinion, based on news stories and articles, which I have read about gendercide in the last few years.
Try to imagine what will happen to this world if we continue to kill, abort and abandon girls, simply because they are girls. According to the United Nations 200 million girls are missing in the world today, because of “gendercide” (It’s a Girl).
What is gendercide
Marry Anne Warren used the term “gendercide” for the first time in her book (1985) ‘Gendercide: the implications of sex selection. Warren drew “an analogy between the concept of genocide” and what she called “gendercide.” (Gendercide.Org). The definition given by the Oxford English dictionary of genocide is “the deliberate extermination of a race of people”. A polish-born holocaust survivor Raphael Lemkin says that:
“Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain, or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and colonization of the area by the oppressor’s own nationals”(Pbs.Org).
So contemplate for a moment on the term gendercide, which is even more devaluating on half of the population on this planet. The film ‘It’s a Girl’ –which is shot in India and China- reveals the issue of female genocide. The main question in the documentary is, why this is happening and why so little is being done to save girls and women.
We basically see a war against girls, which is deeply rooted in centuries-old traditions. “And it is sustained by deeply ingrained cultural dynamics, which is combined with government policies, accelerate the elimination of girls (It’s a Girl). There is a strong “son” preference in China and in India. Modern medical technologies are used to find out the sexes of the fetus. Due to misuse of modern technologies the imbalance between the sexes increased drastically. “In China the imbalance between the sexes was 108 boys to 100 girls for the generation born in the late 1980s; for the generation of the early 2000s, it was 124 to 100. In some Chinese provinces the ratio is an unprecedented 130 to 100” (Economist).
Founder of the campaign ’50 Million Missing’ Rita Banerji it is one of the experts who talks about female gendercide in India in the film It’s a girl. One of her biggest challenges that she is facing is public skepticism. “How could fifty million plus women just disappear from a country in a period that spans less than a century? That number is about the size of the entire population of Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Portugal put together” (Rita Banerji, 50 million missing).
It’s a Girl in the Netherlands
To raise more awareness in the West the documentary ‘It’s a Girl’ has been screened by the GOPIO Women’s Council in three major cities; Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague. An important aspect of the screening was to address the issue and to have a dialogue regarding female gendercide. The population that has been targeted for these screenings where from the Chinese and Indian NRI/PIO community Although it was extremely difficult to invite the Chinese community to attend this screening, the few who came did spread the word further.
The last screening in The Hague only focused on the Indian community, the reason is that the Chinese government policies -one child policy- is the biggest cause of imbalance of boys and girl, while in India there are no government policies but the imbalance is caused by culture and tradition. After the screening of the documentary several experts from different social and scientific fields where invited to give their view of point and answer questions of the the audience.
In every city the reactions of the audiences where of unbelief, they where shocked by the horrible circumstances and situations which girls or women in South-Asia face on daily bases. They saw abandoned girls, women who suffer from the extreme dowry-related violence, mothers who have to fight to protect and save their girls. And other mothers who kill their infant daughter for a son.
The lack of collective empathy can also be seen as form of crime and injustice towards innocent girls and women. Women are considered the givers of life and ironically the lives of these givers are being taken. To raise awareness is important, even though we live in the west and perhaps will not experience the same situations. It’s womanhood that bounds us together and by constant dialogue, education and change of cultural patterns this trend of self-destruction can hopefully be broken. Last but not least. A woman is not commodity she is a free spirit, she has the right to live her life according to her own terms and conditions.