Twenty-six years ago today, I was pregnant. Stéphane and I didn't know if our first baby would be a girl or a boy. And, we didn't care. No matter the baby's sex, we planned to welcome him or her into our lives. It was a joyous time.
Fast forward. The baby who was in my belly has grown into an intelligent, resourceful and beautiful young woman. One whom I'm sure will make the world a better place. From the moment she wrapped her tiny fingers around mine shortly after she was born to the day when she walked across the stage to receive her master's degree in June, my daughter has continuously filled my life with wonder.
But this post isn't about my daughter. It's about all of the daughters who aren't alive today because of "gendercide", the act of systematically killing, aborting or abandoning babies simply because they're girls. According to estimates by the United Nations, 200 million girls are missing in the world because of gendercide. To put that number in perspective, that's more than all of the deaths in World War I and World War II combined. Just imagine what these girls would have achieved if they had been allowed to live.
Last night, I attended the French premiere of It's a Girl at the American Church in Paris. Knowing that gendercide could be a divisive topic between conservatives and liberals in the United States, the producer remained steadfastly focused on the issue. This isn't a pro-choice film or an anti-abortion film. Instead, it's a film that everyone should see.
Shot in India and China, countries where families prefer sons to daughters because sons inherit wealth, work in the field and carry on the family name, the documentary introduces us not only to women who murdered their daughters but also to women who fought against ancient cultural traditions to save their daughters.
When Dr. Mitu Khurana, a pediatrician in Delhi, discovered she was pregnant, her husband and mother-in-law forced her to undergo an illegal ultrasound test to determine the sex of the baby. After they learned that she was carrying twin girls, Khurana's husband and mother-in-law pleaded with her to have an abortion. She refused. Hoping to provoke a miscarriage, her husband pushed Khurana down a flight of stairs and locked her in a room. Bruised and bleeding, Khurana managed to escape to her parent's house where she gave birth to twin girls two months prematurely.
In the film, Khurana demands, "What should I do to save my daughters? Where do I go from here? ... If all this can happen to an educated woman like me, what is the guarantee my future generations, my daughters will not face the same harassment when they grow up?"
Please tell your friends about It's a Girl. If you would like to take action against gendercide, visit the website for It's a Girl.