La Trobe University Law Lecturer Ms Reeta Verma is leading a peaceful walk to the Indian Consulate General’s office on International Women’s Day (Thursday March 8) in remembrance of the ‘missing’ girls and women of India.
The walk has been organised by the Australia India Society Victoria (AISV) and the charitable organisation ‘Simply Equal’ to draw attention to the plight of 50 million girls and women.
‘According to the United Nations Population Fund, abortion, female infanticide, prenatal sex selection and systematic killing of girls soon after they are born have resulted in at least 50 million girls ‘missing’ from India’ explains Ms. Verma.
‘These statistics are agonising and are a critical reminder that women and girls do not have safety in their own homes. Their lives are being cut short for various reasons: either before their birth or after they are born in this world,’ says Ms Verma.
The practices are contributing to gender imbalances and other serious problems that have far reaching consequences in India.’
‘The natural sex ratio at birth is 105 males to 100 females. The male to female ratio has been slanted for a generation, and demographers assert that in some parts of India, the male female ratio is down to 70 women to 100 men’ says Ms Verma.
Male privilege in India occurs for many reasons. Sons are traditionally seen to take care of parents in old age, be the protectors of the family name, inheritors and managers of the family business, perform most religious ceremonies and conduct last rites for their parents’ funeral. Sons have to earn money to pay for the burden of their sister’s dowry, and the dowry on the marriage of a daughter is a burden for the family. As a result sons are preferred over daughters and many girls are aborted and their mothers abandoned by husbands and families wanting to produce males.
Peaceful Walk for Missing Women and Girls of India
Date: Thursday 8 March (6 -7 pm)
Venue: Federation Square to Indian Consulate Generals’ office
For more information, please visit www.aisv.org.au and
More about Ms. Reeta Verma
Ms Verma is a member of the Taskforce Against Domestic Violence in Indian Communities which is part of the AISV. She is also involved with Relationship Australia, Victoria (RAV) working on projects relating to Indian communities. She has worked on numerous ventures raising awareness of the issue, including action research in 2010 in which Reeta took part in focus groups which explored the issue of silence among Indian families in Melbourne in cases of domestic violence. The research also examined barriers for women in seeking professional help in cases of violence in families.
Reeta Verma firstname.lastname@example.org; 0488 588 348 (M); 94498 791 (AH)
Senior Marketing Officer, Faculty of Business, Economics and Law
T (03) 9479 1604 M 0421 347 816 E S.Scoglio@latrobe.edu.au