More than 65 per cent women in Kurukshetra and Sonipat districts of Haryana prefer son over daughter as they believe sons can continue the family line, even as around 50 per cent uphold the idea that having a son determines woman’s status and respect in the society. The data was revealed by the Population Council, that conducted a survey on 1,000 married women in both the districts from September to November last year, with an aim to shed light on issues of gender-biased sex selection in India.
The report highlighted that the practice of conducting pre-natal sex determination tests during pregnancy was almost universal in the surveyed districts, as 90 to 92 per cent women identified had undergone the test. Around 16 per cent of the women also believed that a woman having only daughters was unfortunate. “All the health care providers agreed that after informing the mothers that the foetus is female, most women either on their own will or more likely under family pressure, find a way of terminating the pregnancy. Neither counseling nor fear can deter these women,” the report stated.
As many as 49 out of 555 identified women in Kurukshetra and 60 out of 546 women in Sonipat have undergone ‘induced abortion’. 53 to 59 per cent among them was because of medical reasons and around 25 per cent chose abortion because they did not want another child, it said. The report stated that although 96 per cent of women in Kurukshetra and 94.3 per cent women in Sonipat, admitted to know about the wide-spread campaigns against gender discrimination, the “importance” of sons is widely articulated.
The exposure to counseling by fronltline health workers about treating daughters and sons equally is found low as only 31 per cent women in Kurukshetra and 23 per cent in Sonipat are accessible to it. However, the study, suggested that son preference is declining among educated and younger couples in the state.
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