Female Infanticide

Class: Individuals in Diverse Society (HHS4M1)
Date: June 2007
The Assignment: Choose from a list of debate topics and write an essay supporting either side.

Female infanticide refers to the process of systematically murdering female children shortly after birth. It is most predominately an issue in third world countries, but it has been practiced all over the world in previous times.

The main argument in favour of female infanticide is that it is used as a method of controlling the population in overcrowded countries, such as China and India. Decreasing the number of females decreases the number of children, which in turn helps to decrease poverty because there are more resources available for less people.

In the past, some families would have many children, but with little means of supporting and feeding them. In historical terms, male children were generally viewed as stronger than females, and so males were an asset and females a liability. Also, males rather than females would carry on the family name. Therefore, it is much more desirable to keep the males rather than the females, who would not have been able to contribute to the family as much as their brothers would.

Females also would cost more to raise as they grew up. Oftentimes, female children would require marriage dowries as they grew older. Not having any female children would prevent families from having to pay this fee.

A more modern reason for female infanticide may be due to an unwanted pregnancy. The parents may feel they are too young to properly take care of a child or may not make enough money to adequately support it.

While female infanticide may be viewed as barbaric in modern times, and something only done in third world countries, it is still practiced today, even in Canada, and is more commonly known as abortion. Abortion is not only limited to female children and although it is not completely socially acceptable currently, it has gained slightly more approval over the years. Female infanticide is seen very negatively, but also somewhat hypocritically, as it still exists in another form in the culture of today.