The selective abortion of female foetuses is most common in areas where cultural norms favour male children. Ours is such a country and the practice is reflected in the huge imbalance in the ratio of male to female population in certain parts. A small school in Washim district is addressing this issue in an innovative way with a view to curbing the practice.
Khadki Sadar, a small town under Risod panchayat of Washim district is not particularly different from any other town of its size in the state. The village survives largely on agriculture and the villagers follow the old traditions of celebrating the birth of a son. The teachers of Kisan Rao Sadar School in the village took a step to challenge the sexist nature of tradition. They decided to felicitate mothers who give birth to girl children and to celebrate the birth of girls.
The idea is also to push aside the notion that it is the mother who is to be held responsible if a girl child is born in the family and also the idea that the girl will be a burden that the family will have to bear.
February, 2016, the MLA of Risod, Amit Jhanak felicitated forty mothers who gave birth to daughters at a public event held at the school. Addressing the audience during the felicitation programme, Amit Jhanak said, “It is sad that we have an unequal ratio in our male and female population. If we do not act on it right now and stop the practice of female foeticide, our future is going to be dark. We should all respect women and welcome the birth of daughters in our families. Our daughters will shape into legendary women like Savitribai and Jijabai. I give my full support to this initiative by Sadar School for our bright future together.”
The women who took part spoke and they said they did not support the idea of having only sons and understood the importance of family planning. Their thoughts about treating a daughter equal to a son and letting her study and follow her dreams were appreciated by the people gathered for the celebrations.
The school has decided to keep this programme alive for years to come. They have also started working towards prevention of farmer suicides in their village by creating a better understanding of the reasons for it and by supporting the families of the victims.
Blog: Sarasvati Londhe, Cluster Head, Risod, Washim District
Photo: Sarasvati Londhe
Translation and editing: samata.shiksha team