Female Feticide/Infanticide

Female feticide is the deliberate act of aborting a foetus because it is female. Female infanticide is the killing of young baby girls because they are female. The UN World report on Violence against children, stated in 2007 there were almost a 100 million girls missing from around the world, and 80 million of those missing were of Indian or Chinese descent.

The UN World Report further reported that 410 out of 1000 women in India stated infanticide was the cause of death of newborn baby girls. Many scholars such as Dr. Manisha Sharma argue that infanticide and/or feticide is caused due to economic burden. Girls are considered a burden because of the dowry system, where dowry must bestowed on families when the young girl is looking to be married. It also occurs due to other cultural “imperatives” – the boy child can carry on the family lineage or name whereas as girl child cannot.

Prevalence/ Statistics

In 2005 it is estimated that there were approximately 50 million more men than women. Presently, based on the 2011 Census it is estimated that in India there are 37 million more men than women.

China’s sex ration in 1979 was 106:100; in 1990 111:100; in 2001 was 117:100; and in some rural areas as high as 130:100. Comparing these ratios to the USA’s population sex ratio, which is defined as the number of males in a population per 100 females, in 2001 the ratio was 96.8:100.

What are the courses of action that are taking place?

Tamil Nadu state initiative, where families with one or more daughters but no son were given annual payments by the government until the daughters reach 20 years of age to help with education, and upbringing. However, this was only provided to those parents who underwent a sterilisation process. According to UNICEF India (2014), The PCPNDT Act 1994 (Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act) was changed in 2003 to target medical professionals who perform the practice of sex selection.

The Chinese government went about tackling the issue by incorporating new laws that directly forbid parents from using medical technological advances to determine the sex of the child before birth; introducing new marriage laws which prohibit female infanticide; and lastly a female protection law, which protects from discrimination women who keep their female babies.

Initiatives by NGO’s

13 years ago, UN Women organisation developed an initiative, Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which was set up to improve areas of health and education. The UN Women focus on equality for women and girls by working with various partners and focus on ensuring the most vulnerable women and girls are provided with health services. They focus on amending laws, providing education, health and empowerment support.

There are various initiatives that have been created to end female infanticide and female foeticide, which focus on providing education, health and empowerment skills to young girls and women.

Existing campaigns

Save Girl Child http://www.savegirlchild.org/legal-jurisdiction.html

UN Women (also provides a link on their website to video Missing Girls in China: focuses on the positive effects of less birth selectiveness) http://www.endvawnow.org/en/articles/606-son-preference-female-infanticide-sex-selective-abortions.html

UN Girl Education Initiative http://www.ungei.org/search/search.php?q=female+infanticide

The 50 Million Missing Campaign in India https://50millionmissing.wordpress.com/

Laadli is an initiative to gain one million signatures, for the one million girls missing. http://www.laadli.org/


The India’s Daughter campaign aims to work closely with its partners to address the issue of female feticide and infanticide. Please visit our TAKE ACTION page, JOIN US as a partner and DONATE to help in tackling female feticide and infanticide.