Gender Selection In The South Asian Diaspora

As Lohiri season approaches us, the issue of gender equity was once again resurfaces. Some families will celebrate Lohiri for their daughters to show there is no difference, while others will keep it as a boy tradition. I think we should also reflect on the fact gender equity isnt just solved by equal celebrations when from the beginning we dont even allow daughters to be born. How many celebrations will make-up for the gross in-balance between the male-female ratio in our community?

The issue of female feticide in the South Asian community is an infamous issue. We have heard about the studies in India, Punjabs high ranking, and the SGPCs desire to raise unwanted daughters. The common source cited for killing female children is abortion- just never letting them be born. However, the issue is also prevalent in the South Asian Diaspora in America. According to The Mercury News, Indian families are 58 percent more likely to have a son after having three daughters, compared to the natural 51 percent chance.

“A soon-to-be published analysis of birth records by a University of Texas economist estimates there were 2,000 “missing girls” between 1991 and 2004 among immigrant families from China and India living in the U.S. children never born because their parents chose to have sons instead.”

Although the news refers to Hindu families to mean Indian families; we know there is a large Punjabi Sikh population in the Bay Area.

Abortion is not the only method for gender selection; Indian families are now even selecting gender before conception.

Swift writes,

Steinberg, the medical director of the Fertility Institutes of Los Angeles, uses PGD (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis) to harvest fertilized embryos, identify their sex after a few cellular divisions, and implant the chosen gender. Chinese and Indian couples from the Bay Area, who pay up to $18,000 per attempt to have a boy, are a major source of his clients, Steinberg said.

Another doctor, Suresh Nayak, uses a technique that selects sperm before conception to greatly increase the odds of having a child of the chosen gender. In India Currents, Nayak defended his services as preferable to abortion.

What are your thoughts?


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12 Responses to “Gender Selection In The South Asian Diaspora”

  1. Reema says:

    I think there are 2 reasons why there haven't yet been efforts to tackle this issue in our north american communities:

    1) women in our community aren't organized- we don't have spaces to gather and discuss solutions to our problems. we may all individually have ideas and know what needs to be done, but we haven't yet built the forums we need to organize our thoughts and actions.

    2) any solutions to this problem must be long-term. and long-term projects tend to take a backseat in the face of issues that capture immediate attention and can be addressed immediately (issues of harassment or discrimination where we can file a complaint or write letters of protest, etc.)

    perhaps we can use the langar hall to come up with ideas for projects that we can all implement in our local communities.

  2. Reema says:

    I think there are 2 reasons why there haven’t yet been efforts to tackle this issue in our north american communities:

    1) women in our community aren’t organized- we don’t have spaces to gather and discuss solutions to our problems. we may all individually have ideas and know what needs to be done, but we haven’t yet built the forums we need to organize our thoughts and actions.

    2) any solutions to this problem must be long-term. and long-term projects tend to take a backseat in the face of issues that capture immediate attention and can be addressed immediately (issues of harassment or discrimination where we can file a complaint or write letters of protest, etc.)

    perhaps we can use the langar hall to come up with ideas for projects that we can all implement in our local communities.

  3. baingandabhartha says:

    Ignorance, blind faith, mindless adherence to traditional values without critical re-evaluation in light of modern times-all reasons why we have a community of kuri-maars.

    Women have a large role to play in this-I hear old mataji's and even younger mothers-in-law frequently complain about 'munda ho janda' but never old men. Women need to be the front line in this battle-they can just as easily keep their traps shut when their daughter-in-law or daughter is pregnant with a daughter. Women are the girl-childs worst enemy.

  4. baingandabhartha says:

    Ignorance, blind faith, mindless adherence to traditional values without critical re-evaluation in light of modern times-all reasons why we have a community of kuri-maars.
    Women have a large role to play in this-I hear old mataji’s and even younger mothers-in-law frequently complain about ‘munda ho janda’ but never old men. Women need to be the front line in this battle-they can just as easily keep their traps shut when their daughter-in-law or daughter is pregnant with a daughter. Women are the girl-childs worst enemy.

  5. Mr.Singh says:

    Here's a touching song on female feticide that I found on youtube. Please listen to the whole song.

    It would be a dampener to play it on Lohri but every family should listen to this at least once.

  6. Mr.Singh says:

    Here’s a touching song on female feticide that I found on youtube. Please listen to the whole song.

    It would be a dampener to play it on Lohri but every family should listen to this at least once.

  7. Trilok Singh says:

    The people who kill their daughters are criminals and should be dealt with as such.More over why do they deprive the daughters a share in their ancestoral property? Why shoud a girl be forced out of her parents house,when sons and their spouses live and enjoy all benefits.So long as people think that a daughter is a prayadhan,girls will continued to be killed.

    Alternative?

    Girls and boys have to be treated equally and not that girls be donated to some body else as Kanyadaan.

  8. Trilok Singh says:

    The people who kill their daughters are criminals and should be dealt with as such.More over why do they deprive the daughters a share in their ancestoral property? Why shoud a girl be forced out of her parents house,when sons and their spouses live and enjoy all benefits.So long as people think that a daughter is a prayadhan,girls will continued to be killed.

    Alternative?

    Girls and boys have to be treated equally and not that girls be donated to some body else as Kanyadaan.

  9. harinder says:

    I think we need to adopt a middle path between the middle east and the West and take the best of both world.

    West weakness is hypersexuality and exhibitonism which leads in long run to a state of disinterest in opposite sex and

    Middle east weakness is its leaving the nuturer of next generation the woman absolutely illetriate.

    This way we will treasure our Girls and also see that they do not become object of hypersexuality or illetriacy

  10. harinder says:

    I think we need to adopt a middle path between the middle east and the West and take the best of both world.
    West weakness is hypersexuality and exhibitonism which leads in long run to a state of disinterest in opposite sex and
    Middle east weakness is its leaving the nuturer of next generation the woman absolutely illetriate.
    This way we will treasure our Girls and also see that they do not become object of hypersexuality or illetriacy

  11. Suki says:

    harinder says:

    Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 10:58 am

    I think we need to adopt a middle path between the middle east and the West and take the best of both world.

    West weakness is hypersexuality and exhibitonism which leads in long run to a state of disinterest in opposite sex

    I have feeling that alot of strong independent women will disagree with that statement.

  12. Suki says:

    harinder says:
    Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 10:58 am

    I think we need to adopt a middle path between the middle east and the West and take the best of both world.
    West weakness is hypersexuality and exhibitonism which leads in long run to a state of disinterest in opposite sex

    I have feeling that alot of strong independent women will disagree with that statement.