Inequalities of power and control between men and women have long resulted in a preference for male children. This preference has led to extreme methods of guaranteeing the births of boys, including feticide. In some instances, after a female is born, she is mistreated, abused, or - in the most tragic situations - murdered simply on the basis of her sex.
In addition to the centuries-old cultural values that have promoted disparities between men and women, population control policies and the expense of raising children in countries such as China and India have resulted in disturbing patterns of gender preferencing. In one district in Punjab, India, the balance is approximately 700 females to every 1,000 males. In certain areas of Canada, such as Surrey, B.C., we are beginning to see statistics of similarly skewed gender imbalances - where, for instance, studies show that for every 108 boys there are only 100 girls being born. If nothing is done to curb the practice of female feticide in Canada, this sort of imbalance could become more widespread.
During our lives in India and Canada, we have witnessed horrific examples of violence and discrimination against women. It is true that Indian culture has often turned a blind eye to female feticide, infanticide, neglect, malnourishment and death of young females. We have seen abuse and killings of women during marriage, dowry killings and otherwise.
The Indian government is finally taking these matters seriously, and has recently enacted regulations to ban gender ID kits from being imported into that country. But no law or any relevant regulations have yet been issued with regard to gender ID kits in Canada.
Before home kits were available, and still today, a clinic operating in Washington State performs early pregnancy gender determination tests, and many Canadian women have been known to cross the border in search of those services. It can be said with a fair degree of certainty that at least some of the clinic's patrons end up committing feticide. Having the same technology available at home will facilitate the process, and will likely appeal to many people who would otherwise not undergo the stress of travelling to a foreign clinic to conduct such tests.Ujjal and Raminder Dosanj