In a country where males rule supreme, woman struggle to have voices heard

Amanda Hodge; 29/3/10

Seema Das is a forthright, educated mother of one daughter in India, although if fate had been allowed to follow its course she would have two girls. Ten years ago, she terminated her second pregnancy after an ultrasound test confirmed the fears of her husband and his family. Seema (not her real name) had conceived a girl in a country where daughters are often viewed as a financial drain. The UN Development Program this month estimated up to 42 million girls in India every year are lost to sex-selective abortions, infanticide or neglect. Women’s groups celebrated a substantial political victory this month when India’s parliamentary upper house voted for 33 per cent of state and federal seats to be reserved for female candidates.