ADF India’s Initiative – Vanishing Girls Campaign
Anushree Bernard, Project Coordinator, Vanishing Girls
Lalita (name changed) lives with her husband and two daughters in Madanpur Khadar, a small village in South Delhi, India. Abuse started with her when she delivered a girl child, for a second time. When she gave birth for a third time, it was again a girl. Her family made it clear that this time they would not care for the girl child.
“At 3 months, my baby girl passed away. If she would have received proper care and nursing, she would have been alive today.”
Lalita continues to live with her husband and his family. However, education for her two daughters remains a distant dream for her due to the lack of support from her husband and his family. Her husband despises the idea of sending their two daughters to school, as he considers it a waste of his resources.
This is the untold story of several women across the country, who are at the receiving end of violence and subjugation as they are perceived to be inferior to men due to the patriarchal mindset in the society. This has relegated women and girls to a secondary position in the society and at homes.
Discrimination against the girl child begins from the womb itself with the elimination of the female foetus through sex selection techniques, which is strictly prohibited under law. Such sex selective abortions have led to a drastic decline in the child sex ratio across the country with only 918 girls for every 1000 boys according to the Census 2011. As the sex ratio continues to fall, women are disappearing from public spaces, workplaces, families and communities. There are 63 million women missing due to the sex selective abortions and 21 million unwanted girls in the last decade according to the recent government data.
Sex selective abortions reflects the negative attitude which the society carries for the girl child. By denying her the basic right to live is the absolute violation of human rights. Such neglect of the girl child and the low child sex ratio directly relates to the son preference among the families due to the pre-conceived notions that sons provide economic support and have inheritance rights as well perform the last rites for the parents. Daughters on the other hand are perceived to be as an additional financial burden due to the factor of Dowry, as there is an old saying which says ‘Raising a daughter is like watering your neighbour’s garden.’
The mushrooming of unregulated ultrasound clinics across the country has only worsened the situation. Sex determination was prohibited in the early 1990’s after the child sex ratio reached an alarming low due to the rampant increase in the number of sex selective abortions with the enactment of the Pre Natal-Diagnostic Techniques Act in 1994 which was later amended to the Pre-Conception Pre Natal-Diagnostic Techniques Act, 2002 (Prohibition of sex selection).
Despite the PCPNDT Act, India is fighting a losing battle against female foeticide due to it’s non-enforcement of the PCPNDT Act. The number of convictions are astonishingly low as compared to the number of cases registered under the PCPNDT Act. There are 2.5 million girls went missing between the period of 1991-2011.
Looking at the deplorable state of the child sex ratio in the country, ADF India launched the Vanishing Girls Campaign in the year 2016 as initiative to arrest the practice of sex selective abortions with the aim to save the life of the unborn girl child. Vanishing Girls Campaign focuses on combating the menace of sex selective abortions through raising awareness about the issue as well as advocating for an effective implementation of the PCPNDT Act through legal intervention.
During the course of Campaign, we have received immense support as many as 4000 signatures from the public at large who have pledged to stand against the practice of female foeticide. Vanishing Girls Campaign also works extensively with women in the villages South and East Delhi by providing them legal trainings about their fundamental and legal rights. The National Girl Child week was celebrated with an inaugural ceremony by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi followed by a week-long awareness programme at the different malls in Delhi highlighting the issue of declining child sex ratio.
The gospel calls us to fight for justice and mercy for all people, as man and woman have been created equally in the image of God. The struggle for the basic right to live for the girl child is real and disturbing, therefore, we must all come together to stand against the practice of female foeticide and act as agents of change to ensure that every girl is giving is brought to this beautiful world and is given a right to live her life with respect, dignity and equality.
Join the Vanishing Girls Campaign to fight against the practice of sex selective eliminations taking place in our cities and towns by calling for strict implementation of the PCPNDT Act.
Visit us at www.vanishinggirls.in to sign the pledge to save our VanishingGirls by giving them -LOVE.INHERITANCE. FREEDOM.EQUALITY
Visit : Vanishing Girls Campaign Website
 Asian Centre for Human Rights – The state of PCPNDT Act losing battle 2016