The modern day woman is definitely in a far better position than women from the preceding generation. Where traditionally her role and status were defined and fixed to the home front, today women are entering every sphere and field actively. There have been positive changes with women receiving higher education, stepping ahead, and breaking shackles of typical stereotypes placed by society.
But, to me, these changes are at a superficial level. Scratch deeper, and one would find, an absence of gender parity to a large extent. For still, a significantly large percentage of households in India, prefer a boy over a girl child. One could pick various reasons for this. The traditional social set up focuses on the son being the main bread winner of the family and, continuing the family name and the task of doing karma rests on his shoulders. Also, girls are considered to be a higher financial liability, as the expenses of her marriage are to be borne entirely by her parents and marriages are a big affair in the country.
Despite social campaigns playing a major role in changing mindsets, the birth of a baby boy is accompanied by celebrations and the arrival of a baby girl elicits mixed reactions. No wonder the Census of 2011 showed 914 females for every 1000 males. This alarming statistic opened the eyes of Pune based Dr. Ganesh Rakh.
In a suburb of the city of Pune, Dr. Rakh runs a 25-bed Medicare General and Maternity Hospital. It is in his hospital that he noticed the difference in attitude of families when a girl child was born. The birth of a boy would be accompanied by grand celebrations and much rejoicing in the hospital. However these celebrations would be visibly absent on the birth of a girl child, and new mothers would often be found weeping inconsolably.
Dr. Rakh decided to do something about this. He launched the ‘Mulgi Vachva Abhiyan’ (Campaign to Save the Girl Child). Under this campaign, he instructed his hospital not to charge any fee for the delivery of a girl child. While a normal delivery costs around Rs. 10,000 and a Cesarean comes up to Rs. 25,000, Dr. Rakh’s hospital waives the entire amount if the woman delivers a baby girl. Dr. Rakh calls this his “tiny contribution” to improve the skewed sex ratio of the country. Dr. Rakh’s campaign has inspired a movement of sorts where doctors from the nearby districts have stopped sex determination tests and abortions, along with counseling families to make them more accepting of the girl child.
Dr. Rakh’s cause to fight the prevalent social biases and prejudices against the girl child is indeed commendable, and hoping more such Samaritans would come forward to make the world a better place. A change at the grass root level needs to happen, where we need to evolve new thought processes and advocate these to our next generation.
*Featured Image Source: Pixabay
This post is part of the “We Are the World Blogfest” which seeks to promote positive news.