200 Million Girls

As I type this, my city is on complete shut-down. The southern United States simply doesn’t know how to function when it gets below forty degrees, and Lafayette, Louisiana actually closes for days at a time in the few cases when it ventures below freezing. This winter has been an anomaly, however: three snows in one season. So while we wait for our roads to defrost, I’m warmly snuggled in a blanket with coffee and controversial topics to write about.

The World’s Missing Women

What I’m about to type is not speculation from a lone source. Although the exact number is debated by the New York Times, CNN, the World Economic Forum, and many others, it is estimated that over 200 million girls are missing from the world’s population today. 

Missing? You might ask. How are they missing? 

Around the globe there are cultures that favor men. Families hope for baby boys because men carry on the family name, bring in an income, and carry on the leadership of male-dominated societies. Baby girls will marry into other families, often at the expense of their own family, and are valued only for their ability to give birth.

The sanctity of life for girls is not recognized. The common thread through all of the injustices we will discuss this year is simply that women are not valued. If a girl’s purpose is only to grow up to marry and have children, why send her to school? Why care for her medical needs? Why allow her to choose her own spouse- or whether she will marry at all? After all, she will marry into someone else’s family. She will not add financial value to her own family. In fact, raising her would be a burden.

This train of thought is a cultural norm in so many places around the world. And if she will only be a burden, then why raise her at all?

Missing

In developed countries where sonograms are a normal part of pregnancy wellness visits, doctors often have the ability to tell the gender of the baby and present the exciting news to the expecting parents. Imagine that you’re eagerly waiting to hear the news that you will have a son. You’re sure it will be a boy, and you have already been dreaming about the traditions you will teach him and the role he will play in the family.

“It’s a girl.” The doctor is sympathetic, knowing that the chances you are hoping for a girl are very slim. He presents you with your options immediately: have the baby and allow the government to put her up for adoption, or choose to have an abortion. Technically gender-selective abortions are illegal, but the doctor just has to know that you want to terminate the pregnancy, not your reasons why.

You’re probably imagining a non-Western country in this description… but this has been recently reported in Europe, Canada, and even the US.

In the Majority World, where sonograms are less common and it is rare to know the sex of a baby before delivery, a couple may abandon the baby girl immediately or soon after birth in order to eliminate the burden of having a daughter. This can be as “humane” as leaving her in the hospital, or as horrifying as burying her alive.

“Finding” the World’s Women

What can we do to stop this horrific injustice?

Education is a powerful tool in the fight against gendercide. Make yourself aware of where gendercide is taking place. Learn the statistics, but more than that, read the stories. Read the uncomfortable testimonies of survivors. Share what you learn with others!

Secondly, use your voice! We have the ability to create change. Call up your representatives and senators. Let them know what you have learned and why it’s important to you! Vote your conscience. Lend your support to organizations that are bringing justice to the frontline.

Check out the organizations page to see the amazing people we partner with who are making a difference around the world. Next week we will talk about how they are impacting Majority World countries in the fight against gendercide.

How do you plan on making a difference for these girls this week? Comment below! 

Chat next week,

xoxo, Robin

 

 

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