National Girl Child Day – The Voice of Tomorrow

Forty Six years ago, on January 24, India got her First Lady Prime Minister - Mrs. Indira Gandhi. The nation of male dominance stood standstill in the awe of the power of this one lady whose determination spoke volumes. Today, India stands high in the race of urbanization but in the genre of social development, it is away behind. It is an irony in this country that where mother is worshipped as Mother Divine, there is domestic violence. In a country where ‘Kumari Puja’ is done, there is female foeticide.

It is in this need to raise public awareness, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government declared to observe January 24 as the ‘National Girl Child Day’ in 2009. “This day will be celebrated every year till there is a gender balance in the country and till the time we match the required sex ratio,” said Renuka Chowdhury, then Minister of State for Women and Child Development1.

According to a United Nations survey in 2007, about 2000 unborn girls are illegally aborted each day in India. The national average of sex ratio is 927 females to 1000 males with states like Punjab (799) and Delhi (850) being the worst2. With this fearing declining rate, the gender gap seems difficult to be achieved. The importance of the Girl Child should be on the national agenda for nation building and the focus must be on female literacy, zero sex discrimination in work and pay opportunities and improved provision of healthcare for the mother and child.

Along with the government taking initiates, the social mindsets need greater orientation. Families in the country with rigid economic means perceive the daughter child as a financial liability as their religious belief requires the bride’s parents to provide a large dowry to the groom’s parents3. The boy child is looked upon as the prospective bread winner and it is he who is preferred for food, clothes, medicine and education, allowing the Girl Child to grow up in sheer negligence. Many couples decide upon abortion on learning that their unborn is a female. This social attitude drives child marriage, child trafficking and child labour.

Today, each day one million elected women leaders play a vital role in the local governance of our nation. They attend issues of food security, health, education and water, and slowly their communities move forward towards equality and social justice. They are bold advocates of the rights and liberties of the girl child. They fight for the schooling of every child in their village, especially the girl. They have pledged to campaign against female foeticide and malnutrition to bring a boom in the national awareness4.

As a mass revolution, together we must all pledge to help the Girl Child can get her voice, her dignity and her individuality giving her the right she deserves.


- Dimple Ranpara (views expressed in the article are that of the author)



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