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Published Date: January 8, 2015

Published Date: January 8, 2015

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An Overview of Gendercide

“More girls are killed in this routine ‘gendercide’ in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century.”
—William Petrocelli [1]

What is gendercide?

Gendercide is the silent elimination of females, young and old, through sex-selective abortion, infanticide, gross neglect, and for older women, lack of access to food and shelter.[2] In countries like India and China the birth of a baby girl is rarely celebrated with much joy. In India sons are preferred above daughters as a son can provide for the family and can carry on the family name. In China, the one child policy instituted by the legal system dictates that Chinese families are legally only allowed to have one child. The Chinese culture like the Indian culture is predisposed to preferring sons over daughters; so because of this one child policy 1.1 million baby girls are being aborted every year in China.[3] In India and China, sex determination tests are carried out with or without the consent of the pregnant mother. Through the use of ultrasound equipment, the baby’s sex is determined and if it is a baby girl couple choose to abort the baby or later strangle or smother the infant child when she is born. The killing of a baby below the age of 12 months is called infanticide. Infanticide is an act that goes directly against a child’s right to life. Although more common in the past, today we still encounter cases of infanticide, particularly against girls (female infanticide).[4] One mother in India reported giving birth to eight female girls in hopes that, she would produce a son for her husband. With each birth of a daughter, she smothered the infant and buried the child in the garden of the family home.[5]

Due to the oppressive society and prejudiced viewpoint of women in India and China, the injustice of gendercide continues. While this injustice continues, over 100 million baby girls have been routinely aborted or killed at birth in India and China alone. Due to the decrease of females and the increase of males in these societies, other injustices such as human trafficking, forced prostitution, child brides and dowry killings have increased significantly.

How to pray about gendercide:

  • Pray for a shift in the oppression of women and the oppressive viewpoint that still persists in countries like India and China.
  • Pray for laws to be reformed so that baby girls can be protected. Pray for the Chinese government to revoke the one child policy in China.
  • Pray for the mothers who desire to keep their baby girls to have the courage and strength to insist on being able to keep their daughters.
  • Pray against the illegal use of ultrasound equipment used to predetermine the sex of infants. Pray that doctors and midwives will actively protect the lives of baby girls.
  • Pray for awareness of this injustice to spread out so that the world will see the effects of gendercide and speak out against it. Pray that the church will stand up and speak out against this injustice.

 Scripture references:

  • Psalm 139
  • Matthew 2:16–18
  • Exodus 1:15–22
  • Ezekiel 16:4–14
  • Psalm 9:13

Hot spots where this type of oppression against women continues:

China, India, South Korea, Armenia, Azerbaijan

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Anne Roberts