The French Premiere of "It's a Girl!", a documentary examining gendercide in China and India

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.


  1. Thank you, Mary Kay, for this important blog post. It's an issue that we in the west have a very hard time to grasp. As a mother of two wonderful daughters (and sons)I am shocked and speechless reading those numbers of girls killed, aborted, abandoned! Unfortunately, I have my doubts about what can be done and if change is possible considering the horrible news we've hade lately coming especially from India.
    I'm sure the film can help spreading the facts, at least.

  2. This is outrageous beyond words! I can't believe we still see things like this happening in our world today...well, there are so many wrong things everywhere!

    Unfortunately some countries still suffer from ignorance, discrimination and very strong traditional beliefs that keep them from advancing. Poverty is a huge factor in all this too.

    I cannot imagine my life without my daughter. She's made my life and everyone around her so much better.

    If I'm ever reborn I want to be like her.

  3. Thank you for this post Mary Kay. Some people do not believe there is inequality, sexism or misogyny and yet this issue shows how incredibly deep-seated it exists in the world - right down into the womb in fact.

  4. Absolutely shocking numbers! And even more shocking when you realize that 200 million is more than TWICE the number of deaths in World War I and World War II combined!*

    * According to Wikipedia

  5. That's very depressing that even educated, urban women are affected by it (not as in uneducated, rural women are of less value, but if things are to change then it has to start somewhere). And you don't have to be the world's biggest feminist to see that this mindset is going to lead to massive social problems very soon, if not right now.

  6. Very moving post. It's shocking that gendercide continues on such a huge scale. I will definitely be seeing this film.

  7. thank you for this post.... I put a small link to it on my own blog, hope you don't mind.


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