THE ACT OF KILLING THE GIRL BABY AT BIRTH – FEMALE INFANTICIDE, was a
practice prevalent among a non migrant community of Usilampattiin Tamil
Nadu. Initially it was believed to be an aberration present among
people in that part of Tamil Nadu alone. But later the studies revealed
the presence of such practices among other communities too especially
in Salem,Dharmapuri, and Namakkal districts.
Cultural compulsion to have a son and the social customs and liabilities
attached to a daughter along with poverty situation were found to be
the root cause for such practices.
Dowry at the time of marriage, marriage expenses and the numerous other
expenses on auspicious occasions thereafter, places a great deal of
financial burden on the family which results in the girl child being
seen as an economic liability.
ICCWTN was the earliest organization that took up this issue and started
its fight against the practice of female infanticide. The project was
launched in 1988, jumpstarted by an article in a magazine, ~India Today|
which highlighted the abominable incidence of Female Infanticide in
We believed in working with the community rather than pointing fingers at them.
• Offering counselling to pregnant women and other members of the family
• Support for girl child’s education
• Gender sensitization and other life skill training; and vocational trainings offered to all adolescent girls in the community.
• Special sensitization trainings for the youth and school going children.
• Economic and social empowerment of women of the community through Self Help Groups (SHG)
The project initially started in 36 villages had grown to 309villages.
The impact was tremendous – School dropout was curtailed and girl children continued their education
In all our programs the children of the village took oath that they will not resort tothis practice when they become adults.
Women of the village had put up board in their villages warning against resort to such practices
Women & youth of the village acted as informers and reported the
matter to us or to the authorities whenever there was an apprehension
of a family resorting to commit female infanticide. This helped in
saving the girl babies.
More than 14000 Women participated in SHG program, became economically
more powerful when their group savings reached more than 12 crores and
loans from NationalisedBanks , NABARD, and etc were made available to
them through our efforts.
Preventing Female infanticide in Salem and Dharmapuri Districts
In 1995, the Department of Women and Child Development, Ministry of
Human Resource Development, Government of India, commissioned a study on
declining sex ratio and the problem of Female infanticide in Salem
District of Tamil Nadu. The Study reported that 8 out of 10 villages
surveyed that “sex ratio at infant deaths showed a very disturbing
pattern with female deaths three times greater than male death”.
Impressed by our achievement in our fight against female infanticide in
Usilampatti&Chellampatti Blocks of Madrai District the Honourable
High Court of Chennai directed some funds available in a particular case
to be channeled to ICCW TN to work towards preventing female
infanticide and sex selective abortion in Salem and Dharmapuri
The primary objectives of the programme was
- Prevention of female infanticide and sex selective abortions.
- Creation of a network of voluntary agencies and community based
organizations for protecting the rights of women and girl children
- Work towards convergence of services.
In all our the advocacy and training programmes emphasis was given to
the concept of gender equality and protection of the rights of a girl
child. The project commenced in 2003 and concluded in March 2006.
“Born to parents who themselves were uneducated child workers, many
child worker are forced to continue a tradition that leaves them chained
to a life of poverty” (ILO, United States Policies to Address Child
labour Globally, 2010).