Girl child still unwelcome in Delhi
Sanjay Jha | June 11, 2008 at 08:02 pmby
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As the city tries to break gender stereotypes, yet another study hashighlighted the attitudinal differences towards the girl child in the country.The bright spot though is that the differences seem to have become far moresubtle.
The study, conducted bythe Women’s Studies and Development Centre (WSDC) at Delhi University, hasthrown up several interesting highlights, especially on the urban mindset.Interestingly, the study shows that sex preference for an unborn child is morepronounced in urban areas, and especially with fathers, while an‘‘unhappy’’ reaction to the birth of a girl was againmore marked in urbanparents.
Said NilimaSrivastava, principal project coordinator at the WSDC, ‘‘The study,which looked at both the rural and urban areas, opens up a new window into theurban mindset. Interestingly, the attitudinal differences, wherever felt, aremuch more subtle than we hadthought.’’
Forinstance, in Delhi, which had a higher percentage of parents who do notcelebrate the birth of a girl child, the methods adopted were subtle — nodistribution of clothes or religious activity. The subtlety was most evident inareas like health, where the girl child got treated at par with boys, but with adifference. ‘‘For instance, the boy would get the packet ofchocolate or Maggi which was denied to the girl,’’ saidSrivastava.
The study, whichhad a sample size of 7,200 respondents, covered districts in six states —Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Rajasthan.Around 1,200 respondents: 400 mothers, fathers and girls each were interviewed,with the age of girls ranging from 13 to 18years.
The report, which willbe presented to the UN as well as the central government, also throws up apositive. Said Srivastava, ‘‘The good news is that most girls, ahealthy 77%, don’t feel they are discriminatedagainst.’’
Butit’s not goodbye to all discrimination. Take quality of nutrition forexample. Of the 11.94% who felt discriminated against, a staggering 15.14% werefrom the urban areas, as against only 8.85% from rural areas. Urban Delhiespecially seems to be biased, with the report claiming that girls in the cityget restricted exposure to the outside world, remaining confined to‘‘chatting in theneighbourhood’’.
Delhialso scores low when it comes to decision-making vis-a-vismarriage.
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