Female Infanticide, Female Genital Cutting, Honor Killing Youth Advocate Program International 4545 42nd St. NW, Suite 209 Washington DC, 20016, USA www.yapi.org
The Girl Child what do you know? What is discrimination? What examples of discrimination come to mind? Does the United States provide equal opportunities for men and women…and girls and boys? If the US does provide equal opportunity between sexes, how does it do so? Is anyone familiar with the following words: female infanticide, female genital cutting, honor killing?
The Girl Child words to know Child: The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) defines a child as a person under the age of 18. A girl child is thus a female younger than 18 years of age Discrimination: Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice. Dowry: Money or property that a ride’s family must give to the family of her husband as a requirement of marriage.
The Girl Child forms of discrimination Female Infanticide: The murder of a female infant. It occurs often as a deliberate murder or abandonment of a young girl or infant. Selective Abortion: Also called gender-selective abortion, sex-selective abortion, or female feticide- selective abortion. It involves the abortion of a fetus because it is a girl. Many women from communities or cultures with a preference for boys practice selective abortion.
The Girl Child forms of discrimination Female Genital Cutting (FGC): The practice that involves the removal or the alteration of the female genitalia. It is a centuries-old practice found in many countries among people from various religions and beliefs, most prevalent in Africa. Honor Killing: The practice of killing girls and women who are perceived to have dishonored a family’s reputation by allegedly engaging in sexual activity or other improprieties before or outside of marriage. ‘Improper’ behavior justifies grounds for killing. It has expanded to include transgressions, which are not initiated by the girl, including rape and incest.
The Girl Child facts and statistics Currently, 60 million girls are reported as “missing” as a result of infanticide, sex selective abortions, and neglect. At least 130 million girls alive today have undergone Female Genital Mutilation, and 2 million more are at risk every year. It is reported that at least 5,000 women and girls are murdered each year for “honor’s sake” by members of their own families. United Nation statistics, national reports and studies initiated by non-governmental organizations repeatedly show that girls, as a group, have lower literacy rates, receive less health care, and more impoverished than boys. Source: Youth Advocate Program International: www.yapi.org Source: Youth Advocate Program International: www.yapi.org Source: United Nations Children’s Fund: www.unicef.org Source: Amnesty International: www.amnesty.org
The Girl Child female infanticide What: The deliberate killing of a girl child. Who: Girl children who are born in societies where poverty, overpopulation, and male biases are prevalent. Where: In regions where poverty and overpopulation are prevalent. It predominantly occurs in societies where girl children are not viewed as economically advantageous. Why: Lineage, Income, Dowry, Protection, Government
The Girl Child female infanticideLakshmi’s Case: Tamil Nadu, IndiaLakshmi was 20 years old and already hadone daughter. Upon the arrival of a secondgirl she no option but to kill this seconddaughter. Lakshmi refused to nurse thenewborn and to silence the infant’s cries ofhunger she fed her a poisonous combinationof sap and castor oil. The baby died soonafter.Source:Kumar, Sampath, “Life for India Baby Girl Killers,” 17 April, 2003, BBC News,World Edition, (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2956065.stm) According to UNICEF, up to 50 million girls are missing from India’s population due to the country’s gender discrimination.
The Girl Child female genital cutting What: The practice that involves the removal or alteration of the female genitalia. Who: Young or adolescent girls from cultures that believe that FGC will prevent girls from being promiscuous and prevent them from engaging in sexual intercourse before marriage. Where: 28 African countries, Muslim populations, Indigenous groups in Central and South America. Why: Cultural beliefs and attitudes on multiple fronts: sexual, sociological, hygienic and aesthetic, religious Effects: • Physical ~ Pain, damage to organs, hemorrhage, chronic infections, complications with sexual intercourse and childbirth. • Psychological ~ Shock, anxiety
The Girl Child female genital cuttingHannah’s Case: Ethiopia, East AfricaHannah was genitally cut when she waseight years old. She knew little about theprocedure, but understood it to be a ritual, aceremony, a process that would allow her tobecome a woman. Six women held Hannahdown to perform the procedure. There wasno anesthesia or pain medication at anypoint during the procedure, and Hannahalmost lost consciousness because of theimmense pain. The practitioner was thenpaid the equivalent of one dollar for theprocedure.Source:UNICEF, www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ethiopia_18246.html Approximately 54% of girls in Ethiopia are subjected to FGC. There is no national action plan to fight against this abuse.
The Girl Child honor killing What: Killing of women that can be defined as acts of murder in which a woman is killed for her actual or perceived immoral behavior. Who: Women who have failed to keep marriage contracts, refused to agree to arranged marriages, requested divorce, flirted with men other then their husbands, or for ‘allowing’ themselves to be raped. Where: Most prominent in the Middle East, Southwest Asia, and Northwest Africa. Why: For violating sexual norms or being victims of rape or other sexual rumor. This is a custom where women are treated as property and business contracts.
The Girl Child honor killingRaina’s Case: Jordan, Southwest AsiaRaina Arafat was twenty-one years old anddid not want to marry the man her family hadchosen for her. She Was secretly seeing herIraqi boyfriend whom she wanted to elopewith. Her aunts told her they had arranged asecret meeting between the two and broughther to an open patch of land in the suburb ofAmman. Her aunts walked away and let herbrother, Rami, shoot her in the back of herhead. Raina’s ‘crime’ was being in love witha man that was not sanctioned by her familyand cultural ideals.Source: Gendercide Watch, http://gendercide.org/case_honour.html Men who kill women for the sake of “honor” in Jordan are usually sentenced to only a few months in jail. They serve even less time if they hold minor status.
The Girl Child discussion What are three reasons why women face prejudice around the world? Do you think that equal education of girls and boys would provide more equal rights and less discrimination against girls? Who should be in charge of making changes regarding the issues we have discussed today? Why do you think people continue to commit these acts, even though there are laws against them in some places? What do you think you can do to help?
The Girl Child what can you do? Educate yourself about the rights of the Girl Child. Contact local, state, and national politicians. • Write letters asking for their opinion on the rights of the Girl Child. Talk to your parents about the CRC. • Educate the adults in your life! Advocate for awareness of the CRC. • Begin a social awareness/ human rights club.
The Girl Child for more information UN High Commission on Human Rights www.unhcr.org UNICEF www.unicef.org Amnesty International www.amnesty.org Youth Advocate Program International www.yapi.org