CHENNAI: Seventy three per cent of respondents cited economic burden as the reason for their male child preference, according to a preliminary study on female foeticide in Tamil Nadu conducted by Samakalvi Iyakkam in association with Child Rights and You in 10 districts including Chennai.
The findings of the study, released by the Samakalvi Iyakkam on Tuesday revealed that 73 per cent of respondents had expressed their preference for male child over female, while just six per cent preferred female child.
The study was conducted in Ariyalur, Chennai, Dharmapuri, Dindigul, Ramanathapuram, Salem, Tirunelveli, Tiruvallur, Tiruvannamalai and Thoothukudi districts between September and November 2018.
The study was conducted using both quantitative and qualitative tools. “We collected information on registration of pregnant women, childbirth and sex ratio for three years from 2014-15 to 2016-17 through RTI from each district and also reviewed NFHS-4 data apart from collecting information from 100 anganwadi centres. We also interviewed Village Administrative Officers, panchayat presidents, pregnant women, village health nurses and also members of child welfare committee” said Arivazhagan Rayan, state consultant, Samakalvi Iyakkam, Tamil Nadu.
Also 55 per cent of respondents confirmed that they were aware of illegal scan centres, revealing sex of foetus, functioning in their locality and 93 per cent believed in unscientific traditional methods to determine sex of foetus. Thirty per cent of them turn to astrologers for advice while others rely on physical appearance and symptoms of the mother.
The study showed that 77 per cent respondents said decision-making regarding childbirth or abortion is done by the husband and women have no say in the matter.
The study concluded that awareness of importance of girl children and ill-effects of foeticide should be created.