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Renaming India’s unwanted girls

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Summary of story from The Sydney Morning Herald, October 24, 2011

Over 200 Indian girls whose names mean “unwanted” in Hindi have been given the chance to choose new names.

The renaming ceremony was held in a central Indian district this weekend with the aim of fighting the widespread gender discrimination that has left India with a population that consists of far more boys than girls.

For many girls this represents a fresh start in life as they shed the names given to them by disappointed relatives.

Some chose to name themselves after Bollywood stars or goddesses but others just wanted traditional names with happier meanings, such as prosperous, beautiful or strong.

The gender discrimination issues were brought into focus this year as the census showed the nation’s ratio had dropped from 927 girls for every 1000 boys under six to 914 in only 10 years (see WVoN coverage).

Sons are favoured in India because of the expense that parents of daughters are expected to meet arranging marriages and paying elaborate dowries.

Sudha Kankaria, from Save the Girl Child, said that the renaming ceremony was just the beginning.

”We have to take care of the girls, their education and even financial and social security, or the cycle is going to repeat,” she said.

  1. Considering that they have for quite some time been trying to do something about the gender gap and specfically the birthrates, the statistics in the artice is a monumental failure. In a population that size a drop from 927 to 914 is massive.

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