Disappearance of Daughters!


Co-Written by Dr. Fayaz Ahmad Bhat and Ajaz Ahmad Bhat

Wujood-e- Zan Se Hai Tasveer-e- Kainat Mein Rang
Issi Ke Saaz Se Hai Zindagi Ka Souz-e Darun


The presence of women fills colors in the picture of world
Her contributions keep it in course of action


Nobel Laureate, Economist Amartya Sen, in way back 1990’s introduced the term “missing women”, showing a deficit in the number of women relative to the expected number of women in a region. He argues that “an advantage they enjoy not only after they are forty years old but also at the beginning of life, especially during the months immediately following birth, and even in the womb”. Thus Sen, attributes the phenomenon to the discrimination in basic nutrition and health care.

Since 1990’s things have changed drastically all over the globe and India is no exception. The Gross Domestic Production (GDP) of India was 326.6 billion USD in 1990, which is 2,487.94 billion USD at present. The literacy rate which is counted as key for socio-economic progress was 42.8%, 52.7% and 32.2% among males and females respectively. This has grown to 74.04% as per 2011 census data reports, 82.14% for men and 65.46% for women. The sex ratio of India was 927 as per census 1991 which stands at 943 according to census 2011.

It is interesting to mention that Amartya Sen, began with following lines:

It is often said that women make up a majority of the world’s population. They do not. This mistaken belief is based on generalizing from the contemporary situation in Europe and North America…

In our context it is commonly believed that women are shining in every sector especially in education. Girls at par with boys, girls out shine boys. This is not the truth. It is not based upon empirical data and scientific methods. This is mistaken belief based on media reports and journalistic sensations.

At times girls secure top ranks in class 10th, 12th and other exams, however reality goes beyond that. The pass percentage of girls remains less than boys not because of genetic or biological supremacy but due to socio-economic and political factors. Generally girls belonging to particular section outshine due to social and “cultural capital”. A sociological examination gives a clear picture and makes things apparent which are otherwise hidden.

A superficial comparison of sex ratio of 1990’s and presents gives impression that gender discrimination in out context is vanishing and disappearing. Unluckily that is not the truth. The gender discrimination and violence over the years has increased in different forms – stereotyping, rapes, reinforcing traditional roles, domestic violence, marital rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution, objectification, commodification, sexism, decline in decline in labour participation and what not.

Similarly the superficial and unscientific overview of literacy rates presents an illusionary picture. Thus creating all is well ‘phenomena’ keeping away from ‘noumena’. The number game of literacy figures gives an impression that India especially valley of Kashmir has achieved strides in literacy and gender roles and discrimination has no place in society now. The data shows that with decreasing gap in literacy rate among males and females and enrollment the gender discrimination is disappearing. However, a sociological analysis and examination reveals that “daughters are disappearing”. At every stage of formal education the percentage of daughters is decreasing thus increasing the literacy rate gap between males and females resulting “disappearance of daughters” at various stages of “theatre” (life).

The “disappearance of daughters” is not a sudden process. It has its roots in larger society and family. The socio-economic background of children plays an important role in it. The modern institutes of formal learning (schools) which are capable of cutting across the barriers of social inequalities based on gender, caste, class, and creed reinforce and reproduce social inequalities even in the present democratic, liberal, and modern context. The schooling of a child is decided by the gender of a child. Gone are the days when parents only send their male children to schools and keep daughters “hidden”. Now girls are equally enrolled in schools however, generally admitted to government or poor “quality” schools. The traditional roles, patriarchy is reinforced and reproduced in schools and classrooms through interaction leading to “disappearance of daughters”.

Dr. Fayaz Ahmad Bhat, is a student of Sociology, social activist and currently teaching Sociology at Government Degree College, Sumbal Sonawari, Jammu and Kashmir, India. He is an alumnus of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.Dr Fayaz is working on new concepts and terms like mal-education, Hidden steering, self syndrome, Multi grade holding, Islamic lag, , Educational Shephered, Disappearance of daughters and Triple burden

Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, a Research Scholar working on Sociology of Education.


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