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Newborn girls still face existential threats in Pakistan

ANI | Updated: Apr 06, 2022 11:48 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], April 6 (ANI): The recent murder of an infant by her father in Pakistan's Punjab province might have come as a shock to many but critics argue that it should not as the country ranks a lowly 153 out of 156 countries on the Gender Gap Index.
On March 10, a man entered a house in Punjab's Mianwali district and snatched his seven-month-old daughter from his wife, pulled out a gun and shot the girl. The accused killed his daughter because he wanted a son, The Pakistan Daily reported.
"He had expressed his desire for a male child to his wife and other relatives. He didn't even show up to see his daughter at the hospital when she was born," a police officer was quoted as saying by The Pakistan Daily.
"The sole purpose of killing the child was her gender," Chairperson of the country's National Commission on Status of Women (NCSW) was quoted as saying.
The data from the Gender Gap Index indicates that Pakistan is degrading and also doesn't show a positive or helpful picture for the country.

The Pakistan publication pointed out that some critics believe that education plays an important role in changing the family's mindset. It further states that education will also tell that girls are not a piece of meat and beating a wife, daughter or sister is not masculine.
Analysts also said that unless the people understand these things and break these cultural norms and age-old rotten traditions, these issues will stay as they are.
Pakistan's societal preference is nothing new as the newborn girls in Pakistan often go missing. Scores of infants are left in white metal Edhi cradles and the more unfortunate ones either get tossed in the nearby trash dumps or are conveniently buried elsewhere, as per a report in the The Daily Times.
Pakistan's gender gap has widened by 0.7 per cent points in 2021 compared to 2020. Interestingly, since the Imran Khan government came to power in August 2018, Pakistan's Global Gender Gap Index has worsened over time. In 2017, Pakistan ranked 143, slipping to 148 in 2018.
The report also indicates that Pakistan needs 136 years to close the gender gap, with the existing performance rate. These statistics show that overall progress in reducing the gender gap is stagnant in Pakistan in four areas: economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; health and survival, and political empowerment.
In other words, women in Pakistan are faring badly to men in these four dimensions of the gender index. (ANI)