Gendercide in Asia: A CSW62 panel for Asia without AsiansCarmel Nisha Pius Franco | March 30, 2018
“Invest 5000 today save 500,000 (dowry) later.” So read an advertisement outside abortion center in Punjab, India. How can we empower girls and women in rural areas if first of all they’re not allowed to be born and are targeted and killed in the womb?
The 62nd commission on the status of women just ended. The commission’s priority theme for 2018 was “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.” As fancy as it sounds the theme rarely or never discussed the threat to the most fundamental right, the right to life of all women and girls, including in rural areas, which is a prerequisite for the enjoyment of all other rights.
According to one UN estimate, more than 200 million women are missing in the world due to Gendercide which includes sex selective abortion and female infanticide. And it’s interesting to note that out of approximately 273 side events and 459 parallel events at CSW62 just two of them focused on Gendercide.
Most of the panels organized to discuss crucial women’s issues are either about abortion, contraception, sex education or gender equality and never touched upon this incredibly serious issue affecting women everywhere, which is sex-selective abortion and female infanticide.
To overlook these crimes committed against the girl child and women is a perfect example of the hypocrisy of radical feminism which denies egalitarianism. Thanks to Jill McElya of Invisible Girl Project (IGP) and Reggie Little John of Women’s Rights without Frontiers (WWF) they made sure the silent scream of our girls in India and China will not be silenced or left unheard. But does this suffice for the gross human rights violation committed against our girls in Asia? Hardly. But it is a necessary beginning.
Ending Gendercide to Achieve Equality and Empower Rural Women and Girls
63 million women are missing in India and more than 11 million are missingdue to sex selective abortions. India is right there with China in eliminating girls. The panel showed how several cultural factors,like dowry practices, often are the underlying reason for son preference.
The projects of IGP in combating discriminatory dowry practices, educating families about the dignity of girls, and bringing awareness about gender equality to fight Gendercide are especially commendable. One could not but be positively inspired by Jill McElya’s respect for Indian culture, her mindfulness and sensitivity in dealing with local population and finding solutions to certain un
healthy and evil practices that exist in our culture.
While India’s girls are aborted and fed to dogs, one might wonder where did all Indian feminists at the UN who brag about gender equality go. I scanned through the room to find fellow Indians and Asians especially feminists to show outrage about the atrocities committed against girls in India. Sadly, I didn’t find one.
Reggie LittleJohn amplified the silent screams of another large country in Asia- China. Reggie’s work is well known in U.S and globally in fighting against the forced abortions and China’s coercive one child policy which killed more than 300 million lives.
This parallel event organized by WWF had 2 panels. One covered the forced abortions and Reggie’s work in China and the latter one by Professor Joel Brind on the breast cancer- abortion link. Prof. Brind’s presentation showed the “worldwide exportation of western breast cancer epidemic” as he called it – through abortion. The majority of the studies done in Asia—in japan, India and China—show clear links between abortion and breast cancer, yet manipulation of data prohibits women from knowing the truth.
The Missing piece
It is unfortunate that both these panels did not receive the attention they should have at CSW62, as many of the women’s advocates overcrowded rooms where Planned Parenthood, IPAS and other radical feminist groups held meetings.
The work of the women I heard are noteworthy and deserve honor. But, also raises one prominent concern: selective amnesia. Both these panels suffered from consciously or unconsciously avoiding the subject of involvement of US and UN agencies in aggravating Gendercide in these countries.
It seems like many in the West suffer from savior syndrome. They want to save the babies of India and China but do not want to own up to the cultural imperialism of the West and the political interests involved in funding the population control programs which worsened Gendercide in these countries. And only few fight for justice to be served.
I must say say, transgender people had better voice at CSW 62 than our little girls who are ripped apart in their mother’s womb. Women and girls in rural areas need much more than abortion and contraception. They need respect. They need to be “wanted.” They need to be ‘welcomed’. They need safety. They need education, nutrition, and sanitation facilities. They need transportation to schools. They need a say in family if they want to care for their parents even after marriage. They should be able to take care of their children and should not feel forced to choose between a job and family. They need to be treated with dignity because no monetary value can be attached to their contribution to the families and culture. But first and foremost our women need Life.