Sensitizing Masses Against Sex-Selective Abortions


Location: Pan - India

Duration: 2005 - 2009

Partner: UNFPA - IMA

“As a future doctor, I swear that I will never involve myself in sex selection also I will not allow my colleagues to do it.”

– Sarika Patil, a participant in our outreach program from Government Medical College, Latur

For every 1000 sons, India has 60 missing daughters. Contrary to popular belief that the problem is only there in rural areas, the problem is far more prevalent in urban areas. The issue is especially acute in northern India where there are less than 900 women per 1000 men. We believe that a concerted approach of educating the society and changing their mindsets is needed to tackle the issue.

In the past few years, we have been trying to sensitize the masses by conducting awareness drives, approaching doctors and medical college students and to getting 75,000 youngsters to pledge against gender selection.

What change did we bring?

Over the years we have undertaken multiple campaigns to sensitize the masses regarding the issue. Our ‘Beti Sneh Sanjivini Yatras’ (the girl child is the panacea of affection drive) held across the country were extremely potent in reaching out to people and changing mindsets.

In addition, we connected to critical stakeholders like doctors and spiritual leaders. Doctors have an important role in preventing gender-selective abortions. Spiritual leaders have a massive following and their reach was leveraged to reach out to more people to spread the message.

How does the journey look so far?

  • Doctors for Daughters - A conference of over 70 leading doctors from across the nation in collaboration with UNFPA and IMA (Sep 2009)
  • At 11 medical colleges - Conducted the YES+ UNFPA program across the state of Maharashtra (Oct 2007)
  • Beti Sneh Sanjivini Yatras - Sensitized 20,000 people in the districts of Bathinda, Mansa, Patiala, Kapurthala and Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab with the help of over 100 organizations (Dec 2006 – Jul 2007)
  • A special concert - Attended by more than 9000 in partnership with the UNFPA and IMA in Maharashtra (Apr 2007)
  • Yuvaratri - Over 75,000 youths from across the country pledged to stand up against the issue (Dec 2006)
  • A conference - India’s Missing Daughters: Faith for Action Against Sex Selection where 35 spiritual leaders from different faiths attended (Nov 2005)

How did we work?

Our team attempted to sensitize the people by conducting outreach programs, marches, and concerts across the country. In addition, we reached out to doctors and spiritual leaders who further helped us to spread this awareness.

What did we learn?

As we interacted closely with the people, we realized that there is a need to bring pride in the birth of a girl child. Programs that incentivize and celebrate the birth of a girl child can go a long way in changing the attitudes.

How can you contribute?

These large-scale outreach programs have been carried out in collaborations with partner organizations like UNFPA and IMA. We would like to continue these efforts to reach out to more people.