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Rita Banerji: Truth is – Education and Wealth Fuels Female Genocide!

August 30, 2012

The biggest myth about India’s female genocide is that it’s caused by poverty and illiteracy. If so, we should see the worst gender ratio for girls among India’s poorest. But as the Indian census shows, the best, indeed the most normal gender ratio, is in India’s bottommost 20%!  As education and wealth increases, even for women, the gender ratio worsens. It’s worst for India’s topmost 20% that’s wealthiest and most educated.

Indeed misogyny acquires more power in each strata with more education and wealth, and is able to inflict worse violence.

With regards to violent racism and the lynching of black men in the United States, civil rights activist Malcolm X had said, ‘A black man with a Ph.D. is still a “nigger.”’   Indeed education and wealth does not prevent nor protect from wide-spread systemic, racist violence in any society.  The same logic applies to female gendercide in India.

Education and wealth do not prevent, mitigate or protect from wide-spread, systemic, misogynistic violence. 

Would the racial apartheid and extensive lynching of black men in the U.S. have lessened without the demand for accountability from the government, courts, police and the laws? 

Does anyone really expect the female genocide in India – the infanticides, feticides, dowry murders, or honor killings, to stop without government accountability and the forceful implementation of laws for the protection of girls and women?

Rita Banerji is an author and gender activist, and the founder of The 50 Million Missing Campaign to end India’s female genocide.  Her book ‘Sex and Power: Defining History Shaping Societies, is a historical and social look at how the relationship between gender and power in India has led to the ongoing female gendercide.  Her website is She blogs at Rebellions in my Space and tweets @Rita_Banerji

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2012 8:31 am

    You are right that government accountability and the forceful implementation of laws for the protection of girls and women is must! The govt. accountability goes weak when the Investigating agencies becomes unresponsive and the need of fast, vigilent and scientific investigations becomes the needs of that hour! The scientific evidences are weigh much instead of the sentimental statements while investigating the crime. The weak investigations by these agencies goes in vain because the court does’t accept the accuseds guilty until it has proved guilty! The fight after the incident needs much more scientific. A consistent tough fight is needed to get a result, that’s too is a big challenge for the victim’s family.

    • August 31, 2012 5:40 am

      @Fight for Anshu — Absolutely!! As Anshu’s case is example. Anshu’s in-laws were very well placed economically and socially and so they were easily able to get away with dowry murder. This is why most dowry cases or of feticide or infanticide we see are from poor families. In the upper class families — the families have powerful connections with government offices and police etc. so often their cases are not registered or even investigated!! We will continue to speak out for justice for Anshu, and show our support for her family that has been fighting. And we hope it will be an example to other families from the middle and upper classes in India to come forward and fight too! For those not aware of Anshu Singh’s case, click here.

  2. August 30, 2012 8:34 am

    sent to twitter!

  3. prachi kanaujia permalink
    August 30, 2012 10:47 am

    truly said but one cannot demean the significance of the power of education .liberal education is one such tool which not only empowers women to think critically and analytically their surroundings but also take adequate steps required to address the vices in the society .after all we have great feminists and women activists working in this field who have acquired all this through education and knowledge . so as far as the issue and the statistics are concerned i think it more or less depends on the society in which the girl is reared rather than the wealth or education that she attains therefore to really alter the way a girl thinks we should first modify the way a society thinks about its girls.

    • August 31, 2012 5:34 am

      @Prachi — You are right that education as conventional school education or even the kind of preaching we have on what society should do about girl children is not going to work. We have to ask why is it that women with education and who are working, earning well, end up paying their own salary into dowry, and give in to the monetary blackmails of their husbands and in-laws, and are forced into aborting their female children even when they don’t want to. Women who do, face immense resistance from their own parents, and rejection from society. A lot of these women, educated, earning well who could use their money to free themselves from abuse, instead choose to remain in the marriage till they are killed by the husbands and inlaws, or else they commit suicide. We have to teach women and girls how to think independently, and how to make this choice, even if it means facing social rejection. However, instead of bland posters saying things like “Save the Girl Child,” we should have posters that force the Indian public to examine their conscience by asking questions like, “If a woman is being abused for dowry in your family, did you speak up? Did you help her get out? Or did you just look away?”

  4. August 31, 2012 5:47 am

    For those wanting more information on this please see this analysis of India’s 2011 census data in context of wealth, poverty, education and illiteracy and the gender ratios for each of these segments. Also see this article by Rita Banerji, “Why Education and Economics are not the Solution to India’s Female Gendercide.”

  5. August 31, 2012 4:47 pm

    When parents and society start seeing women as people and not as honors, paraya dhan, goddesses, mothers, daughters in law, wives, whores, sluts, saviors of culture (liable to being mislead with education, freedom and self reliance), to be protected, controlled, taught lessons (with violence, acid, dress codes etc), to be married off at he right age to whoever accepts the dowry the parents can afford to give – if these don’t change daughters will not be valued. And daughters would be valued if they are not seen as liabilities to be trained from birth and then handed over unspoiled to their rightful owners with appropriate dowry.

  6. September 4, 2012 6:21 am

    @Indian Homemaker — Absolutely!! The bottom line is that women individually and collectively are FIRST and foremost citizens of India. They are not resources. They are not social roles. They are as you point out ‘human beings’ and citizens and their first entitlement is to all the human rights guaranteed to all citizens under the Indian constitution. These are rights that are non-negotiable. They cannot be violated by anyone — including the parents, husbands, in-laws or anyone else, for any reason. In this fight against female gendercide, it is very important for us to focus on this.

  7. emery permalink
    September 6, 2012 10:32 pm

    this is what Ive been saying for months the only way to stop this is government action. unfortunately the only way that will happen is if other governments put sanctions in place against India. to accomplish this I started a petition for an Israeli arms embargo against India so please sign it. it can be found at:

  8. queenofthefight permalink
    September 9, 2012 6:46 pm

    I hate to say it, but maybe some draconian counter-law of killing the killers would be a deterrent. The fact that killers go ‘scot-free’ is the reason it not only continues but is encouraged because there is no visible punishment. Male society sickly condones it; but somehow women need to fight for equal legislation to kill the men doing this. Deterrence goes a long way. Men don’t respect the cry of women, it only reinforces and validates the fact women are weak and men have ‘power over’ them to do as they please, even to the arrogance of death. Men respect nothing but force.

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