Comments Off on Panel explores link between sex-selection, abuse of women
Washington D.C., Sep 14, 2013 / 04:39 pm (CNA).- A recent hearing before members of the U.S. House of Representatives examined the gender imbalance in India and its connection to human trafficking and mistreatment of women in the country.
“Sex-selective abortion and female infanticide have led to lopsided sex ratios,” said Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.). “In parts of India, for example, 126 boys are born for every 100 girls.”
“This in turn leads to a shortage of women, which then leads to trafficking in persons, bride selling and prostitution.”
Smith leads the House congressional panel that oversees global health and human rights. He chaired a Sept. 10 hearing on the sex ratio disparity in India, the first of its kind in Congress.
The congressman explained that by “shining a light on what is happening in India with its missing girls, we hope to move toward a world where every woman is valued and respected because of her intrinsic dignity, and where every child is welcomed regardless of his or her sex.”
Panelists at the hearing described the gender imbalance in India as a multi-faceted phenomenon, stemming from societal discrimination against women, influenced by international population control programs, and accomplished though sex-selective abortion, infanticide, and child neglect.
Matthew J. Connelly, a history professor at Columbia University, stated that “there can be no more important question than why boys increasingly outnumber girls, and what kind of world they will inherit if women have become a minority.”
Connelly explained that international family planning policies have played a part in contributing to making women “a persecuted minority,” particularly in areas with an existing “prejudice against girls.”
“It is not enough merely to insist on choice,” he argued. “Choices can be conditioned by default or design in ways that lead to new kinds of oppression.”
Researcher Sabu M. George, a member of India’s Campaign Against Sex Selection, argued that “rampant sex selection has resulted in genocide” within India.
He warned that this “extreme form of violence against women” could lead to further problems, such as “several men sharing one wife” and an increased “threat of violence inside and outside homes.”
George also explained that while there are laws prohibiting the use of ultrasounds to reveal the sex of an unborn child, these laws are not enforced.
Human rights lawyer Jill McElya, who works with the Invisible Girl Project, echoed George’s statements, saying that sex trafficking, sexual assault and violence against women …read more