Girl Killers

Nearly thirty percent of Indians live in poverty and for women this economic position brings a life of animosity. The parents of the bride must give a dowry which often renders them bankrupt. As a result female infanticide is a common and established practice. The girls that are not killed are practically enslaved, forced to break stones or sell their bodies to support their existence. But now the women are defending themselves by forming associations which offer help in education, savings and loan arrangements.

It's all done in ambition that through giving women more effective role in the society more girls will be rescued. The NGOs have been battling for more than 15 years against female infanticide in India's non-urban areas. In 80 villages, they have helped women to form groups that basically oversee homes where a birth is about to happen. Traditional healers know many different ways to kill a baby: feeding it with poisoned or very hot food, wrapping it in water-soaked cloths and placing it under a cooling fan, choking it with a pillow or simply letting it starve.

People accept the first girl, the second girl should be murdered, and then the third child is expected to be a son. People believed that women who only give birth to girls bring bad luck. The women's group is trying to explain to everyone that this is not true. But the reality is on public show in schools. There are more boys than girls, and that ratio is the same in all of India. In some areas, there are barely 700 girls for 1,000 boys. And many families don't even send their daughters to school in the first place.

After getting married, a daughter will leave her parents' house, and an education will probably not change that. The campaigns have put a stop to female infanticide in many villages. But there still are some isolated cases.

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