Srinagar: National Health and Family Survey (NHFS) has revealed that there has been an improvement in the sex ratio in Jammu and Kashmir even as the overwhelming majority still prefers a male child.
This preference for sons over daughters – described as “son preference” – is rooted in the traditional belief that a male child would carry forward the family name and look after the parents in their old age, while daughters would leave them for their matrimonial homes and cost them dowries.
The survey suggested that the sex ratio in Jammu & Kashmir stands at 948 females per 1000 males, however, the preference for sons continues to be strong. “23 percent of women and 25 percent of men want more sons than daughters, but only seven percent of women and men want more daughters than sons,” it said.
It indicated that over four-fifths of women (84-87 percent) and men (87-89 percent) would like to have at least one son and at least one daughter.
A senior official from National Health Mission, Kashmir said the preference comes from the old belief of sons having the capacity to continue the bloodline and take care of their parents when they grow old.
“The mission is actively involved in promoting awareness about the rights of a girl child. We frequently conduct awareness and sensitization programs wherein we discuss issues like female feticide, declining sex ratio, the menace of sex-determination tests, and the importance of health, education, and nutrition for the girls.
He maintained that we have also roped in religious leaders to talk about the rights and problems concerning the girl child.
Meanwhile, to celebrate the birth of a girl-child, the Jammu and Kashmir Government is coming up with a green initiative under which a tree will be planted every time a daughter is born in the family.
Conservator of Forests, Kashmir, South Circle, Irfan Ali Shah Shah had earlier told The Kashmir Monitor that the one girl child, one plant program’ aims to recognize women’s rights by honoring their birth.
“Ours is a male-dominated society, where some parents are still reluctant to accept female children. Through this initiative, we hope to celebrate their birth by linking it with environmental conservation at the same time,” he said.
Shah emphasized that the program has been shaped under the guidance of Commissioner Secretary, Forest, Environment & Ecology, J&K, Sanjeev Verma. “We are mobilizing the Asha and Anganwadi workers for the cause who are usually the first beneficiaries to deal with the expecting mothers. They can inform the concerned forest guards about the birth who in turn may approach the family and spread awareness about the initiative,” he said.
The trees planted will include poplars, conifers, and other fruit-producing trees. “The families can plant the trees in the village land, orchard, or a boundary near the house. The sale proceeds from the trees will go into fixed deposits. Once the female attains the marriageable age, the same money can be used through various girl-child schemes,” Shah said.
(This story has not been checked by JK Mega and is auto-generated from other sources)