A Father Of Three Girls Speaks Out: Let Us Not Detest Girls

Posted: May 16, 2015

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The love and support that girls give their parents is no lesser than that boys do. It is time we stopped devaluing girls.                              

“Hey, did you hear, it is again a girl in the family!”

I can imagine some friends and relatives of mine conversing with each other on the arrival of my third grand daughter recently. Why are we so obsessed with having a boy in the family? Alright, if you already have a girl, there is nothing wrong in wishing for a boy, but if the second child is also a girl, why don’t you accept the reality? After all, we cannot decide the sex of the child.

Contrary to common perception, it is not only rural folk or illiterate people who are preoccupied with having a male child and some times even resort to pre-natal sex determination and female foeticide in our country. This problem is well and alive in the most (so-called) educated, urban and elite of circles too.

As a father to three girls, let me share one of my own experiences. Once, a colleague of mine told me at work that I should try for a fourth child which can be a male. I jokingly retorted that if he could guarantee me a boy I would follow his advice. It was shocking to hear the same educated gentleman justifying a condemnable incident of Sati in Rajasthan. It saddens me when we discriminate against and ill-treat women. Even in my circle, I can see many people who feel or subtly express a sense of pride when the newborn is a boy.

Data shows that the female to male ratio in India is 8:10. How do we explain this gap? Outwardly, we claim that we worship woman as Goddess. In practice, are we licensed to detest a girl? How you explain this preference for a boy? Is it because he can continue with the name of the family and will take care of you in your old age? Or are the girls a burden on us? I am unable to buy any of these arguments.

In my own circle of relatives and friends, I have seen many sons not caring for their parents in their old age and in some cases, whatever pretence of care is there is for the sake of the outside world only. On the contrary, I find that daughters are more attached to their parents even after their marriage.

Personally, all my three daughters love and care for me and my wife immensely. They provide us the same support in times of need as a son is supposed to give. Hence, I feel no void. May be this is the reason for the way my thoughts are shaped. The truth is that children grow up in many directions, and whether a child is a boy or a girl is not the only thing that impacts their relationship with their parents.

Ultimately we have to learn to live a contented life with whatever has been given to us, be it a child of any sex. With my three daughters and three granddaughters, I enjoy my life and have never felt the absence of a boy as a practical or emotional problem.

The roots of the ill-treatment of girls and the low sex ratio in India lie in the poor value we assign to girls. It is time we understand that daughters can play as positive a role in the lives of their parents as sons – more parents with daughters should speak out too and bring about this positive change by sharing their own experiences. Let us not detest anybody.

‘It’s a boy/girl’ image via Shutterstock

K.M.Vedapuri, based in Chennai, is a geologist by qualification and a practising ground water consultant. He loves reading books and journals in English and Tamil related to water, environment, energy, temples and other heritage structures.

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