Girls Pay Price for India's Preference for Boys
March 15, 2007 4:24am CST
Corrine Woods at UNICEF says her organization and others hope to replicate the success they have had with educating villagers about malnutrition to get them to change their attitudes about girls. "Creating a culture at the village level of the value of girls is key. And also creating a culture whereby the women's group in the village is saying 'don't do this.' So it's peer pressure." In the central Indian city of Bhopal a gynecologist and janitor at a hospital were arrested recently following the discovery in a pit behind the medical facility of the remains of an estimated 400 female fetuses and newborn babies. India's government is proposing to set up orphanages to raise unwanted girls, hoping that will cut down on the number of abortions and infanticides. But some experts express little hope, saying the idea has been tried before and in many of the orphanages the girls suffered terrible neglect. Social scientists are ringing the alarm about the long-term ramifications. They say history has shown societies with a surplus of young men who have no hope of marriage suffer from instability and surges in crime and violence.