"The moment the word 'why' crosses your lips, you are doing theology."
—When Life & Beliefs Collide                

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Missing Daughters

"Raising a daughter is like watering your neighbours' garden."
—Hindu saying

So goes the logic that justifies the ongoing gendercide of baby girls in cultures today where sons are held at a premium and daughters do not count. The March 4 issue of The Economist focuses attention on the disappearance of "at least 100m girls" and counting—"aborted, killed, neglected to death."

In countries where sons carry forward the family line and according to tradition care for their aging parents, a family must have sons. Daughters, in contrast, leave their parents at marriage to build another man's house.

To read The Economist articles:
The War on baby girls (Editorial)
Gendercide: The worldwide war on baby girls

If you can't view the articles, Dr. Al Mohler references them in his recent blog post, The Scandal of Gendercide — War on Baby Girls.

My mind goes down many roads when I read again about these appalling losses. Here are three:

First: to the crisis in itself. Christians must take the lead in speaking out. But speaking out is not enough. It is merely an important first step to be followed by action that will counteract these attrocities. Jesus, the Gospel, and Old Testament prophets call us to this.

Thank you Dr. Mohler for your post!

Second: to mothers and would-be mothers in these cultures. A conversation with a Tanzanian friend of mine underscored the danger posed to women who can't conceive or bring a child to term and to women who only give birth to daughterrs. In these cultures, she is at risk of being divorced and thrown out or of her husband adding another wife who can "deliver." Family pressure is intense and can lead to brutal results. So the misery multiplies.

Third, to the Gospel's good news for women. The ancient biblical culture put the same preeminance on sons over daughters. Note, for example, the unbearable suffering women in the Bible experience when they are barren. Understanding the ancient patriarchal value system puts Jesus' regard for daughters in sharp relief. One of my favorite Jesus stories involves how he openly valued two daughters—the dying 12 year old daughter of Jairus and the shunned "daughter" who suffered 12 years with a bleeding disorder. Both women get priority treatment from Jesus. You can read that post in the WF archives: God is Good for Women.

There's more to say on the subject, and surely more that we can do. I for one am glad for another opportunity to put this message forward.

1 comment:

Anna said...

I am so glad I found your wonderful blog!

Yes, the treatment of girls is heartbreaking. I'm grateful to live in the USA where I think daughters are as much appreciated as sons. I am a proud mommy to three girls and one boy, and I value them all enormously. I hope my girls will grow up to be doctors, engineers, or similar.

I wonder how much this prejudice against girls correlates with technological level of a society. For example. most bronze age cultures practiced human sacrifice (e.g., the Aztecs, people who lived in the time of Abraham and Isaac.) Is this treatment of girls something that is going to go away as we become scientifically more advanced?