I used to always wonder why in India so much importance is attached to a male progeny? As a girl, I pondered over this question when people saw girl child as a burden and a boy child as hope. Over the years I have found that there are two types of parents, one who are honest about wanting boy child and other who will say all sorts of equality stuff but secretly wish for a boy child. The alarming drop in female: male ratio clearly states that women empowerment, dowry ban and various other laws have failed to check this gap. What is the root of this psyche and how can we uproot it? There has been already said so much but still no visible signs of changes.
I have tried to dissect this mentality. It is said that the son will support the family,he will always stay with his parents even if he gets married, he will take care of parents in old age blah blah. Now consider this scenario, parents are working in one city, son is working in another how the hell this fact assures that boys will always stay with parents?There are times when children get settled in another country so visiting parents becomes even more difficult after that, so the first myth is busted.
The second concern is growing crime against women makes parents worried about the girl child's safety. As we hear increasing number of cases against women we feel the girl child as a responsibility. In order to ensure her safety, we start having curfew after evening. I remember my mother used to stay awake till I reach my destination if I am going on an overnight journey to other place. My point is, if you have a son don't you think he can also get victimised? He can also be prone to abuse and any kind of abuse. So the second myth is busted and be a boy or girl parents are always concerned about their safety.
The third issue is parents of a girl have to invest in her education. They have to raise her, make her independent and economically self reliant. However, this doesn't assure that the marriage expenses will be shared or the dowry amount is reduced or abolished. They have to save for her education, her marriage, her dowry, buy gold for her, so somewhere economically, they are under burden. And to add to the woes, our society doesn't look favourably if a girls parents take financial support from her. Hence, for a girl child its only give and no take.
Thus, to avoid all this pain, they want son. However, a boy child means he has to work and we expect him to be the prime bread winner of family. In no case can a boy be a house-husband. The responsibility of buying a home, setting up home, managing family expenses lays on a boy. A woman can think of staying at home, but for boys this is not the option. So all in all, everything is on same level. Be it a boy or girl, you have to make all sacrifices take efforts and bear expenses as parents so the last myth is busted.
So what is it that makes people so happy by a boy's birth and a girl's birth is frowned? The psyche of Indians is deeply rooted with prejudices. So much that they don't get the other side of the coin, that is having a boy child doesn't guarantee, you can sleep peacefully without worrying about his safety or future. Believe me, a child is a child, no one should discriminate it on basis of the gender. I have been extremely lucky that I have such a wonderful set of parents who have always given me the freedom, education and good values. And I feel even more lucky when my in-laws are also like my parents when it comes to giving me all the freedom and support to pursue my career. But, we need a great paradigm shift in our thinking and only then can we achieve a truly equal world.
Save the girl child!!!