URIDU Health Family Work

What are common conflicts over children?

In many countries females are not valued or respected by their families. Many families, especially in developing countries, prefer boys to girls because boys are expected to provide support to their parents in old age. Therefore, families are more likely to provide their sons, rather than daughters, with all available health care and education. Many women no longer agree with this custom; they want better lives for their daughters and are willing to challenge traditions and discuss with their husbands how to treat and educate all their children irrespective of their sexes.

As a result of the widespread belief that girls are a burden on their families and on society, and despite the fact that it is banned by law everywhere in the world, in many countries some families still pressure pregnant women to abort a female foetus and even to (passively) murder young girls through the denial of food and other necessities such as health care. In India, for example, around 750,000 girls are being aborted annually so it can be very hard for a woman to save a girl child.

The pressure on women to have sons in many developing countries is terrifying and women failing to deliver boys are often ill-treated (by husbands, in-laws or other family members), tortured or even thrown out of the house. At the least, they are made to feel guilty and their status in the family is further reduced.