Recently, I was watching a programme on “Aarti Home”, a home for orphans and “unwanted” children (read girl child). The owner of this organization had information about a lady who wanted to abort her child since she was a girl. She visited her in hope of convincing her to not take such a step. In the whole conversation that followed between the owner of the organization and the pregnant lady, the former had no words to refute the reasoning behind not having a girl child. To me, the reasoning was a perfect cost-benefit analysis.
Why it makes little rationale to have a girl child? (assuming that the family is poor, though the reasoning that follows can be for well-off families as well)
1. In absence of any future security, son is a best bet, the runner of the family’s baton, who takes family’s name ahead. What about a daughter? She belongs to her husband’s house, her stay at her parents’ home is only transitory. She takes his name; she takes his family and forgets her roots.
2.Dowry!! Yes, it still exists (in huge proportion!) in India. Thus, expenses on a girl child in her upbringing + marriage expenses come out to be quite huge. Returns? Apart from probable emotional bonding, since a girl does not usually work, there are no returns that follow.
I am bewildered that there are girls who think that the tradition of being part of her husband’s family is somehow exciting. Following traditions has become ‘fashionable’. Ignoring the set of girls that might not have had absolutely any exposure to the ‘new’ ideas, even the educated mass does not question such role accorded to women. They are happy following the traditions, being absorbed in their husband’s family, visiting her parents some days in a year. Why would parents not think of having a son rather? Atleast, a son would take care of his parents monetarily.
These days, there is a tendency to have small family. I am afraid that this might as well do more harm by selective abortion in order to have a son.
I am not able to put my thoughts in a crystal clear format and moreover dynamics might be different in a family with different income and socio-economic characteristics. But the basic thought is as follows: given our society, our beliefs about the role of a man and a woman, a woman has to essentially get absorbed in her husband’s family. On the other hand, a man has to earn the bread and take care of the family that includes his parents as well. Why can’t women think of taking care of their family including her parents as well? Why she (has to) loose(s) her identity and abandon(s) her past, her upbringing and her responsibility towards her parents. Why can’t she be an asset to her parents?
To all those who think that things are changing, women are more educated now etc. etc., please ask yourself how many women you know who would not forget their identity after marriage, an identity that includes concern for themselves and a responsibility and care for the past. Probably, the pressure to act according to the rules of the society is too much to think of acting against them..
If you are interested in this discussion, please do read the comments. And I will appreciate if you could share your views as well..:)