Dads across India are posting selfies with their daughters as part of a campaign to reduce female infanticide by spreading awareness of the value of girl children.
U.N. Women tells us that India is ranked 132nd out of 148 countries in the Gender Inequality Index. While the exact number of girls killed in infanticide and foeticide is unclear–most of the cases remain unreported–the ratio of girls to boys declined sharply between 2001 and 2011, in large part due to the continuing practice of female infanticide, according to the U.N. The girls are either killed at birth, abandoned, or aborted because male children are considered more worthwhile than females in some parts of India.
The #BetiBachaoBetiPadhao (Save the Daughter, Educate the Daughter) campaign was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modhi earlier this year and has attracted some pretty cute #selfiewithdaughter Instagram photos:
It looks like it’s gained some attention, based on photos like these. And it’s certainly a significant step for the federal government to recognize that there needs to be a fundamental change in the way some Indians value girl children.
But in a context where violence against women and female children are still significant problems, a social media campaign on its own seems like too little to turn the tide. The question is: Are these posts going to make a difference in places like the remote village in Rajasthan where, India Today reports, 14 cases of female infanticide were reported in just one month in 2011 and were not investigated?