What Is Female Infanticide?

Even in the 21st Century, gender discrimination continues unabated in almost all parts of the world. Women, defined as “the weakest sex” in most of the world’s patriarchal societies, are often denied equal rights for men and the prohibition of enjoying a large number of privileges enjoyed by men. The worst form of this gender discrimination reflects the cruel practices of female infanticide and the selective abortion of female fetuses. Female infanticide implies the deliberate killing of the newborn by her family and this shocking practice is prevalent in some countries of the modern world, such as those of the Indian subcontinent, even today.


Anthropologists have reported some centuries ago that female infanticide was prevalent in large areas of the world. The indigenous people of northern Alaska, Australia and southern Asia are believed to have practiced female infanticide for centuries. In Arabia, this practice stopped with the institution of Islamic culture that abolished the killing of children. In China, girls have been killed for over 2,000 years. Drowning, suffocation, starvation or abandonment were the preferred methods to kill newborn females in this country. Although Buddhism regarded female infanticide as a sin, Buddhist belief in reincarnation often encouraged some of the religion’s misunderstandings to kill the child without a guilty conscience. The Confucian principles of preferring males to inherit family ownership and other masculine-centric family values ​​also led to the consideration of females as a “burden” for their families. In India, cases of female infanticide were recorded in the accounts of British officers during the British Raj in the country. The Jats in the Punjab region of India were more involved in this practice, while people in other areas in the north-west and north of India and some pockets in southern India also practiced female infanticide. Cases of female infanticide in Pakistan have also been reported. Southern India also practiced female infanticide. Cases of female infanticide in Pakistan have also been reported. Southern India also practiced female infanticide. Cases of female infanticide in Pakistan have also been reported.


Economic reasons are the main drivers of the practice of female infanticide. This, together with the gender inequality prevalent in many patriarchal societies, is leading to the loss of large numbers of girls in countries like India. In such societies, there is a prevailing belief that male children will become the only bread takers for the family in the future, taking care of their parents as they get older. Females will have to be married, often at the cost of a heavy dowry that the girl’s parents will have to endure, failing which the family will be shamed by society. From this belief system, it is clearly evident that a child is in no way a treasure for these families, just a “burden” which will lead to economic misery and pain for other family members. This is what actually causes parents to kill the child at birth or interrupt the female fetus inside the womb itself. Therefore, the whole society is responsible for the aberrant practice of female infanticide in the countries where it is practiced.

Contemporary trends

In modern China, there are conflicting reports on the prevalence of female infanticide in the country and a lack of data on the actual number of female births here. However, the age-old practice of female infanticide in the country has led 30 to 40 million more men than women in the country. The relationship between the sexes in the country is therefore heavily inclined towards men. In India, female infanticide is still widespread in parts of northwest India, where thousands of newborns or female fetuses are killed each year. This has forced the United Nations (UN) to declare India as the “deadliest country for girls”. The United Nations also estimates that in India, a girl between the ages of 1 and 5, have a 75% chance of dying more than a male child. Another shocking statement from CRY reveals that in India 1 million children die each year within the first year of their birth.

Legal status and regulation

In India, the Indian government has tried to develop several programs in the past to discourage the practice of female infanticide. Although it has been legally abolished in the country, most cases are not reported, silenced by families and members of the surrounding community. Therefore, the central and state governments of India have tried to tackle the problem by introducing various schemes and processes. One of these is the “cradle scheme” in which children are left up for adoption in cribs placed outside health facilities. Another program, the child protection program, ensures that families with more than one female receive funding for the


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