By: Emily Conley
On International Women’s Day, people around the world will pledge to help women and girls reach their ambitions, challenge biases, call for gender-balanced leadership, value men’s and women’s contributions equally, and create inclusive flexible cultures. But ADF International’s partner organization, ADF India, is fighting for the right for girls to even live.
“In our country, 50,000 babies are aborted every month for one reason: they are girls instead of boys,” said Tehmina Arora, a representative of ADF India. “India’s skewed sex ratio shows that, as a nation, we have failed girls. They are either aborted or, once born, subject to various forms of violence. It’s time to address this issue, especially on International Women’s Day, March 8. Whoever believes that women share the same rights as men cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening in India today.”
In 1994, a law was passed to regulate the practice of sex selection called “The Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act.” Unfortunately, in the approximate 22 years of its existence, this Act has been implemented only partially and sporadically across the country.
Initiated by ADF India, the objective of the #VanishingGirls campaign is to raise awareness against the practice of sex selection and advocate for effective implementation of the PCPNDT Act, 1994.
This campaign will join forces with those who have been working in this area for a long time in bringing a gradual change to the rigid patriarchal set up of India that has a strong preference for the male child.
“Girls are vanishing because of a widely prevalent notion that boys are superior,” Arora explained. “We can help bring an end to the terrible practice of sex-selective abortion, and we can improve the way women and girls are treated in our homes and families.”
Indian citizens can sign an online pledge, agreeing to stand up for the rights of India’s vanishing girls. Signatories agree to “honor and respect girls and women” to “ensure that sex-selective abortions are not conducted” and so that women may have an “equal share in the resources” of their families.