By Betty Yom Mageer, Nairobi, Kenya
Monday September 21, 2020 (SS24News)
Negative attitude, killing and discrimination towards the birth of the girl-child in South Sudan is something that has existed for centuries and it is continuing until today. In South Sudan and some parts of the world, there is massive favoritisms and desire to have a male-child compare to female-child especially in marriage and during the pregnancy.
There is always a strong desire especially on the man side to see that his partner gives birth to boy-child instead of girl-child. And when a woman is unable to give birth to the male-child, then, there’ll be a deep unhappiness and stress with the man and it is as if a woman has entirely fail or refuse to deliver the man’s expectation.
A woman who constantly gives birth to daughters is completely seen as if there is something wrong with her and she is hated silently and treated as if she is the one who decided and select to gives birth to girls yet it is the almighty creator who decides the gender of the child.
In our society, this misconception and gender discrimination is deeply rooted in the historical injustices against womankind and many womenfolk have been brainwashed to believe in this societal misapprehension and gender segregation that has been wrongly engineered by the society and male counterparts toward the female-children in South Sudan.
We need to understand that both the boy-child and girl-child are all significant members of the society and there’s no one among them who is either superior or inferior to the other. They are all equal in life.
What has happened some weeks ago when innocent precious souls were murdered in cold blood in Rock city in Juba was totally a wickedness of the highest level and I condemn it in the strongest term possible and I hereby urge the government to bring the wicked culprits to book and let justice prevail for the young three beautiful girls who were mercilessly murdered yet they’re sinless and innocent.
We need to protect our children from harm and killings in South Sudan. We need to be celebrating and feel glad with the birth of both the male-child and female-child in our society. Moreover, we need to abandon our discriminative mentality and start celebrating the birth of the girl-child in order to reduce the discrimination towards girls in our country.
Furthermore, in some parts of the world, some families prefer male children compare to female children and for instance, in India, families prefer male children for various cultural motives, including property being passed on to sons over daughters, females moving into their husbands’ homes after marriages and families having to pay dowries to propose marriages for their daughters.
Additionally, Indian families often prefer male kids because of the laws which pass property to male heirs and the practice of paying huge dowries to bridegrooms’ families when girls get marry. In addition to that, in India there are wide reports of infanticide and selective abortion and Indian government has criminalized the selective abortion of female fetuses in 1994 and imposed fines and imprisonment sentences for those found guilty of breaking the law. Indian government has acknowledged the practice of gender-based segregation within the country and has put laws and programs in place to fight the problem.
It is said that last year, the Indian government came to realize in a report that sixty-three million females were statistically “missing” from India’s population due to the societal desire to have a male-child over a female-child. The report indicated that over twenty-one million girls have also been considered “unwanted” by their families, who continue to have children until a male-child is born.
After the above reports, the Indian government has decided to launched several schemes to enhance the education of female-children and raised awareness about the uniqueness of the girls to the country. There is Mukhyamantri Rajshri Yojana (MRY) Scheme: The aim of the scheme is to control the rate of female feticide and provide better medical care and academic education.
The scheme aims at educating and financially helping families so that they can care for their girl-child. The scheme assists in spreading the positivity instead of negativity towards the girl-child. Additionally, there are many benefits with this scheme. There is instalment of Rs. 2,500/- which is given to the mother of a newly born girl child by the respective medical facility.
After completing one year, with all vaccinations done, the second instalment of 2,500/- is given through a cheque. At the time of admission in any public school in grade I, Rs. 4,000/- is paid to the girl-child to encourage her to continue studying and etc. Moreover, there’s Balika Samridhi Yojana (BSY) Scheme:
It is a scheme meant for the upliftment of girls and it is a small saving deposit scheme launched by the Indian government in August 1997 to alter the attitude of the society towards girl-child at birth, retain and enroll female-children in schools and help a girl to take up income generating activities and it is being implemented in both urban and rural areas.
There are many benefits with this scheme and each girl is entitled to Rs. 500/- post birth and she is also given scholarships for successfully completing set years of schooling. The mount of scholarship can be deposited in an interest-bearing account and the maximum possible rate of interest is ensured.
There is no premature withdrawal that is allowed and it matures when the girl turns eighteen years of age.
The above schemes are meant for the betterment of the girls and to change the societal negative attitude toward them in India and their government has done an excellent Schemes.
Furthermore, female infanticide is the deliberate killing of newborn female children and it is widely practiced in many countries globally. And for instance, female infanticide is reported to be a major cause of concern in several nations such as China, India and Pakistan.
Moreover, the Chinese government have acknowledged the issue and introduced laws to deal with it. Matrimony law prohibits female infanticide. Womenfolk’s protection law prohibits infanticide and bans discrimination against women who choose to keep female babies. And that is a wonderful action by the Chinese government and their people.
Furthermore, there are no reports whether infanticide and selective abortion exist in South Sudan or not. But there is widespread discrimination and silent unhappiness towards girl-child birth with many families across our country even though we always deny it to avoid shame and pain of realities.
There’re widespread deliberate illegal abortions across South Sudan although they’re not selective abortions based on the gender as it is the case with other countries. Additionally, it is good to acknowledge that it is not all the South Sudanese people who have the negative attitude towards female-children across South Sudan.
There are those great men and women with humanity who love all their children irrespective of their gender and treat them equally. And there are those who don’t completely like female-children and they prefer to have boys only yet they need wives for their boys later on in the future. That is a shameful twisted logic and poor analysis.
In South Sudan, the importance of girl-child is highly appreciated during marriage when one is either marrying a female or is getting dowries after a girl-child has been married. That is an opportunistic and materialistic attitude and appreciation and it is an objectification of female-children which is totally wrong.
Finally, a woman is precious just like a man and they’re all equal. If the girl-child is not that important, then why dating and marrying her? Why are you born by a woman? Why then do you need a girl to be a wife? Why then do you accept dowries and money from girl-child’s matrimony? Why did God anointed Mary to be a mother of Jesus Christ and not Mr. X or Y?
Is it wrong to have great women like Mother Teresa, Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Oprah Winfrey, Queen Elizabeth, Nunu Kumba, Rebecca Joshua, Awut Deng, Malala Yousafzai, Marie Curie (Polish woman scientist who discovered the radioactivity which lead to the development of X-rays which are vital in health centers today), Michelle Obama and many great other women globally. Is it wrong to have first lady Ayendit at J1 in South Sudan?
is it not a wise idea to have Angelina Teny as our country’s defense Minister and Rebecca Nyandeng the wife of our late icon Dr. John Garang as the first woman Vice President in the history of our country? Let us stop killing and negative attitude towards the birth of girl-child in South Sudan and treat both the male-child and female-child as equal in life and together we’ll build a better country for both men and women. Both the girl-child and boy-child are unique in life.
Author: is a woman’s rights activist