[Letters] “Oh, no! A daughter?”A countryside house in India is immersed in great sorrow. Neighbors visit to console the household. Now, you might think that someone just died. Actually, however, someone was just born.
In India, the birth of a girl is barely celebrated. Rather, it is regarded as a devastating occasion. Unlike the congratulation after a birth of a boy (many families hold parties), the birth of a girl is greeted by a deep sigh of regret from the parents.
Many girls are raised in poor conditions if they are ‘lucky.’ Almost 10 percent of the girls are killed by their own mothers, only because they are ‘girls.’ Each year, the number killed exceeds a million.
The situation in big cities are as bad as those in the countryside. When pregnant women find out that they are going to give birth to a girl, with the ‘help’ of high technology, almost all of them (about 98 percent) immediately abort the child.
Sexual discrimination had been the case in Korea for a long time as ‘a great tradition.’ It’s the same in India. They ill-treat their girls because it’s their ‘tradition;’ a tradition that places men ahead of women.
A lot of India’s old proverbs preferred boys over girls and some of them even ‘pressure’ Indian women to have boys. One proverb even says ‘a woman who can’t bear a boy is worth less than mud.’ The wives have to have boys so that they can be considered something more valuable than just ‘mud.’
Why do Indians prefer boys so much? In India, just like in Korea, boys succeed the family clan. They serve memorial ceremonies and other matters great and small.
You can easily find an Indian man who says that his life is a ‘failure’ because he doesn’t have a son. These irrational traditions are aggravating the discrimination against girls.
Money plays another key role in this phenomenon. Women have to provide a great sum for the marriage.
This is a huge burden on the would-be bride’s family. So Indian families came up with a more ‘economical plan.’ The family just doesn’t raise any girls and ‘prevents’ any further financial burden on themselves.
Many people in Korea call for the ascent of women’s rights. They say that we are living in a civilized world and should abolish any irrational practices that discriminate against women.
Consequently, women gained the right to speak their voice, the right to claim their share and the right to participate in the political world. However, our struggle to achieve the equality of both sexes should not be confined domestically.
Yes, we are living in a civilized ‘globe.’ As a member of this global society, it is our duty to fight for gender equality in India and throughout the whole world.
With this effort, we will be able to establish a truly ‘civilized globe’ with all humans being equal.
By Ahn Sung-min,
student at Daejeon Foreign Language High School