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Journal Article

Citation

George SM. Reprod. Health Matters 1997; 5(10): 124-132.

Copyright

(Copyright © 1997, Elsevier Publishing)

DOI

10.1016/S0968-8080(97)90093-8

PMID

unavailable

Abstract

Female infanticide in Tamil Nadu, South India, has recently received widespread attention within India and abroad. This paper contains reflections based on over a decade of field work and study of this phenomenon, and information gathered from NGOs, activists and officials. It discusses the recent history of the practice of female infanticide, and the circumstances which forced the state government in 1992 to acknowledge its existence. Activities to prevent female infanticide, such as the 'Girl Child Protection Scheme' and coercive actions against those committing female infanticide, by the state government and non-governmental organizations are critically reviewed. The unwantedness of girl children manifests itself not only in female infanticide, but also in selective abortion of female fetuses and neglect of girl children, leading to excess female child mortality. Prevention and eradication of female infanticide calls for sustained and long-term efforts to ameliorate the subordinate status of women. Under the circumstances, the tendency of several governments to deny the phenomenon, remain silent about it, or engage in interventions which stand little chance of succeeding, is cause for concern.

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