India estimates 21 million of its girls are ‘unwanted’

India estimates 21 million of its girls are ‘unwanted’

The desire among parents in India to have sons instead of daughters has created 21 million “unwanted” girls, a recent government report estimates. The report found many couples kept on having children until they had a boy. The authors also found that 63 million women were “missing” from India’s population because the preference for sons led to to sex-selective abortions and more care was given to boys.


Tests to determine a foetus’s sex are illegal in India, but they still take place and can lead to sex-selective abortions.


Some cultural reasons for son preference were listed, including:

1) Property passing on to sons, not daughters.

2) Families of girls having to pay dowries to see their daughters married.

3) Women moving to their husband’s house after getting married


It does not come as a surprise to us at FFLV who have been working at grassroots for the past 25 years. Child Marriage is one of the widespread problems in rural India, and its origin also lies in the reasons stated above.


Education is the key for women to achieve economic independence. When girls will be educated and financially independent, they will have stronger position in their communities. The perception of the society will also change, like it has in Vrindavan in the past 25 years. At FFLV, with each passing year more and more girls are opting for higher education after finishing school. The cases of child marriage have reduced greatly in the area.


We educate women because it is smart. We educate women because it changes the world. Help us send a girl to school.

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