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  • Ramizah Tayiba

Understanding Female Infanticide Across the Globe

Female infanticides 

In many parts of the world, girls face gender bias before they are even born. Female infanticide is the illegal killing of baby girls in the womb or after birth because their sex is considered undesirable. This differs from abortion, as female infanticides are performed specifically because of gender.

Where is this an issue? 

This practice has been around for centuries. It has decreased over the years but is still prominent in Asia, especially in India and China.  The killing of infant girls has made the ratio of males to females unproportional

Why are baby girls considered undesirable? 

In many parts of the world, children are responsible or taking care of their parents when they reach an old age. This means supporting them financially.  This makes parents hesitant to raise girls as women have significantly underpaid or are viewed as unemployable. 

Baby boys are thought to have more economical potential and baby girls are seen as an economical burden. 


India has long been a patriarchal society.  The main reason for female infanticides in India is due to the belief that women are a financial burden.When a woman gets married, her family is required to pay a dowry (money or valuable goods) to the groom’s family. Furthermore, when she marries, she moves in with her husband and his family making it difficult to take care of her own. However if they have a son, they benefit financially as they will be on the receiving end of the dowry. 


Female infanticides  occur in high numbers in China, especially during the introduction of the One Child Policy. This policy was enforced to control population size.  With this restraining law, parents believed that having a son will be more economically beneficial. Therefore in extreme circumstances, females babies were killed in the womb.

What is being done?

China has identified the problem and introduced the Women's Protection Law which condemns female infanticides. It also bans discrimination against women who choose to keep their girl babies.

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