Gender Discrimination

Girls face significant discrimination in Indian society. Many female babies are aborted, abandoned or deliberately neglected and underfed simply because they are girls. This can be seen in the fact that female mortality rates are much higher than male mortality rates, and there is a continued decline in the male/female ratio 1.09:1. Reasons for this are numerous, but the key factor is because girls carry the liability of a dowry (money paid to the family of the partner whom she weds), and leaves the family home after marriage.
Child marriage is still a regular practice in India, and culturally acceptable amongst many communities. According to UNICEF’s “State of the World’s Children-2009” report, 47% of India's women aged 20–24 were married before the legal age of 18, with 56% in rural areas. The report also showed that 40% of the world's child marriages occur in India. As well as limiting educational opportunities and stunting personal development, marriage at a young age also carries health risks. A girl under 15 years old is five times more likely to die during pregnancy than a women in her twenties; her child is also more likely to die.
Discrimination against girls is particularly evident in education where boys are more likely to attend school and to do so for more years. In India, the traditional place for a woman is in the home and so many families consider education for girls to be a waste of time, especially when the child can instead be working or performing domestic duties.