The pursuit for gender equality is an important issue in today’s world. Feminism has emerged in western society to advocate for women’s rights. Despite the term being misused in some cases by individuals or groups with other objectives, the core idea of feminism is very upright; women deserve the same rights as men. While North America is slowly making its way towards equal treatment of genders, much of the world still denies women many basic rights. Within this, there is a lesser known, and even more horrendous injustice occurring. Babies are being aborted or killed simply because they are female, and not male.
Referred to as gendercide, the massacre occurs mostly in developing countries, such as India and China. While different countries may have certain laws or culture, the most frequent motives regard family income and legacy.
In China, families prefer to have a son because he can work from a young age, bringing in more wealth. Additionally, China’s child limit policies coerce families to make decisions that do not favour girls. Historically, once the baby was born the family would choose whether to keep the baby or abandon it. Families now don’t have to wait until the baby is born to determine the gender. With ultrasound technology becoming more accessible, families can choose to have a baby aborted if it is not male.
India, with its deeply rooted cultural gender bias, makes mere survival difficult for girls. Statistically, 1 in 4 girls do not live past puberty1. Since the son carries on the family name and honour, daughters in a family are often used as means to benefit the family financially through arranged marriages.
The result of gendercide is that there is an increasing gender imbalance in the countries, in terms of men to women. In China, there are 37 million more men than women2. This is bound to have a negative emotional impact on men, many of whom will have difficulty finding a wife in their native country. Consequently, both men and women are being negatively affected by gender inequality in the world.
Although it would seem only right to have measures in place to protect women from this sort of cruelty in Canada, there are currently no laws against it before birth3. In fact, there are currently no laws against abortion in Canada at all, including sex selective abortion, meaning theoretically, this could occur in Canada. Furthermore, any abortion where an unborn female is killed is discrimination; She is being denied her most basic right – the right to life.
Feminism is ultimately a means, but the end should be life, more specifically, to live fully and freely. The statement that to be feminist should also be pro-life hinges on the fact that a girl must be born to live. If this right is taken away, then all other rights might as well be discarded. Equality in life should not just be limited to equality after birth.
Thus, feminism is a necessity to face this human rights violation. When considered in its global nature, any effort against such a global problem may seem insignificant. We must start somewhere – by upholding the dignity of life in our own situation, in the way we think, and with the people in our lives.
- It’s A Girl Documentary Film. (2016). Retrieved 6 September 2016, from http://www.itsagirlmovie.com/en/synopsis
- S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Annual Report 2008