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'Majority Indian girls face discrimination'

A study on 5,981 girls reveals that 48% expressed their wish to be boys, reports Chetan Chauhan.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2007 11:57 IST

The Indian girl child faces such discrimination that nearly half of the girls wish that they were boys, say a new study on child abuse.

Of the 5,981 girls interviewed for the National Study on Child Abuse released on Monday about 48.4 per cent expressed their wish to be boys. Why not? For years, they have faced humiliation from their parents and family members and found boys being treated better than them in all respects including the food served to them by their parents. But, the study didn't look into specific reasons for such a feeling. It attributed overall gender discrimination as a possible cause.

The study also tried to find the amount of time the girls give for taking care of the siblings. It was found that about 25 per cent of girls devote at least two hours for this job resulting in deprivation of education and opportunities.

The study also pointed out that 70.57 per cent of the girls reported neglect by the family members, thus causing emotional abuse. About 85 per cent of girls from UP, 79 per cent from Gujarat and 79 per cent from Madhya Pradesh reported emotional abuse by the family members.

Among the girls in young adults, the perception of emotional abuse was higher than the girls in the lower age group and a majority of them took offence in taking care of their siblings at the cost of education.

The report makes it clear that the parents are the biggest perpetrators of emotional abuse on the child with over 70 per cent of the children saying so. The worst form of emotional abuse was negative comparison with another child, felt one-third of the 12,477 respondents. Overall, only 48 per cent reported any sort of emotional abuse.

The Women and Child Development ministry, however, had a pertinent point to make that in India there is no clarity on what constitutes emotional abuse and what impact it can have on the child's psyche. "This area requires detailed study for better understanding of children," the report stated.

First Published: Apr 09, 2007 23:05 IST

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