On Saturday, Sept. 15, the Third Annual Global Walk for India’s Missing Girl’s will be held worldwide. The event, which began in San Francisco in 2010, is designed to draw attention to the horrific practice of female feticide and infanticide.
The executive summary of the United Nations 2011 report “Preventing Gender-Biased Sex Selection” states: “The biologically normal sex ratio at birth ranges from 102 to 106 males per 100 females. However, ratios higher than normal – sometimes as high as 130 – have been observed.”
On May 25, 2011, Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor of the Independent UK wrote: “The 2011 (Indian) census revealed 7.1 million fewer girls than boys aged under seven, up from 6 million in 2001 and from 4.2 million in 1991. The sex ratio in the age group is now 915 girls to 1,000 boys, the lowest since records began in 1961.”
As the UN report noted, the practice is not limited to India but is widespread in a number of Asian countries, and, with increased immigration, it is making inroads in the US. On April 17, 2012 in the article “Gendercide is Here,” CalCatholic referenced the work of two Columbia University researchers, cited in Forbes magazine, Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund. In studying U.S. Census data, the two “noticed a statistical anomaly: Americans from China, Korea, and India have relatively few daughters.”
Their research showed that the sex ratio of the first child is normal, but that the second child is much more likely to be a boy, and with a third child, boys outnumber girls by 50% if there is no previous son. That is statistically impossible through random chance.
The practice exists right here in California. In the same CalCatholic article, we cited the work of Dr. G. Sharat Lin of Advanced Imaging Associates of Fremont, California. Lin’s research indicates “a relationship between keepsake ultrasound and birth-gender ratios in the state… Lin found that Asian ethnic groups in the county who were known to have a traditional gender preference for boys had clearly lower female-to-male birth ratios than those Asian ethnic groups who did not have a preference… Statewide, Asians have had the lowest birth-gender ratio (considered to be less than 930 female births per 1,000 male births) among ethnic groups in California from 1995 to 2010.”
Earlier this year, US Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ, sponsored the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act, which would have outlawed the practice of gender-selection abortions. Although the vote was 246-168 in favor, because the measure was “fast-tracked” it failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority required to pass.
CalCatholic spoke with Mrs. Nyna Pais-Caputi, a Catholic Indian-American mother and filmmaker, and the founder of the Walk for India’s Missing Girls. Here is our interview:
What motivated you to start the Walk?
In 2010, when I started shooting for the documentary film ‘Petals In The Dust; The Endangered Indian Girls,’ I realized that it would take a while to complete the film. I felt I needed to do something else as well that would help create awareness of the “gendercide” happening in India. I decided a Walk was easy to organize and get people involved at the grass roots level in India and internationally. I had attended the Walk for Darfur organized by the San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition and although the genocide is happening in Darfur, the Bay Area community came out in large numbers to support the cause.
How has the movement grown?
I couldn’t be happier with the way the Global Walk for India’s Missing Girls has grown. In 2010, we had Walks in six cities and since then it has grown to 16 cities and five countries, including the US, Canada, India, Australia and Kuwait. This year we have five new cities that will be organizing Walks.
What effect do you see it having, both abroad and in the US?
It may take a couple of years to see the positive impact the Walk is having on Indians in India and abroad. But every year more Indians are coming forward to organize Walks, many of the youth are getting involved and people of various nationalities, faiths, political views are supporting this cause.
What particularly would you like to share with our readers?
There is gender discrimination and violence against women across the globe; it just manifests itself in different ways. Genocide continues to rear its ugly, evil head in many nations. It’s easy to point a finger, make judgments or turn your back if it does not affect you, your community, your country. The annihilation of baby girls in India is not just India’s tragedy; it’s a tragedy for all humankind.
In 2011, over 15 cities worldwide participated in the Walk. They included Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Agra, Kolkata, Chennai, Jamshedpur, Goa, and Sri Ganganagar in India; Toronto and Vancouver in Canada; and Washington D.C and San Francisco in the U.S. More cities are expected to participate this year.
San Francisco’s Walk for India’s Missing Girls will begin at 11 a.m. on Sept. 15 at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza. Marchers will proceed to Union Square in the heart of the city’s downtown. For more information, click here.