Status of female children in India: An overview
A healthy female child is a key to promote equal rights for women and gender equality. The constitution of India assures equality for all in every possible situation. Although the nation forbids discrimination of any kind, female children face it since their very childhood. The malpractices like foeticide denote it even before the birth of a girl child.
We are all set for the most modern epochs of the 21st century. Some societies in India still treat female children as a liability to the family. There are various ways people treat female kids unjustly. They may include educational discrimination and health discrimination. Like dozens of cultures all over the world, Indian society exhibits patriarchism. Patriarchy has established itself in both public and private fronts.
Women’s health in India:
Health remains an intricate topic which also depends on various factors. A host of socioeconomic and environmental factors influence the health of Indian female kids. Staying away from diseases or disorders alone won’t depict health. We define health as a sound state of body and mind that controls all the body functions efficiently.
Following are the factors that affect women’s health:
- Neglects in various ways:
Female kids are subject to neglect in various ways. It may include physical neglect, emotional neglect, educational neglect, and medical neglect. Neglect of girls takes place when any basic physical and emotional needs of them don’t seem to meet. We define neglect as the act of exclusion or omission. It may be intentional or unintentional.1.1 Physical neglect:Physical neglect involves the inability of a caretaker to meet the demands of a girl child. It predisposes her to substantial risks. Abandoning a girl child may be an example of physical neglect. Lack of observatory control or improper supervision by parents/guardian involves physical neglect. It leads to irreversible or irreparable consequences on their health.
1.2 Emotional neglect:
Emotional neglect is another type of factor showing the inability of parents to caress the female child. When there are gaps in emotional health, they hinder the sense of composure in a female child. The absence of concrete evidence makes it hard to recognize. If a girl has emotional deficits, the inability to impart proper mental health also shows emotional neglect. The child may develop below-average intellectual capacity in most cases of emotional neglect.
1.3 Educational neglect:
Educational neglect is another form where a girl child shows disinterest in studies or involves in absenteeism.
1.4 Medical neglect:
Medical neglect shows that the girl kids don’t receive requisite healthcare facilities. The inability of a parent or both to provide a girl with medical attention causes grievous bodily injuries. The female child may succumb to the grievous injuries due to parental negligence.
- Lack of nutrition:
The lack of knowledge about dietary regimens causes poor nutrition in female children. Many regions in India have abysmal access to knowledge of hygiene and sanitation. Women have restricted information about reproductive health. Female children are still the last members to eat in a family. In the wake of poor hygiene and sanitation, food items may not adhere to the requisite standards.
The illnesses like Anorexia Nervosa and Orthorexia Nervosa are common in many regions. We may witness that women have poor access to iron and folic acid. The births taking place at home have no access to proper prenatal care. It may increase the cases of maternal mortality.
How to address nutritional concerns in Indian girl child?
Women’s genetic and physiological makeup calls for special nutritional supplements. Menstrual phase marks the onset of iron exertion. Childbirth is another phase demanding extra portions of iron and folic acid. Increase the intake of calcium in a girl child’s diet. It helps to prevent osteoporosis in later life.
Calcium dissuades the physical exertion in women in various ways. Indian diet mainly includes vegetarian foods. Vegetarian foods may not address nutritional concerns adequately. Many household practices end up disadvantaging women. Include proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products in your daughter’s diet. It’s necessary when your daughter is active in strenuous tasks or physical activities.
Follow the instructions given below:
Consider checking the level of physical activity in your daughter before including the calories as given below. If your daughter has a specific medical history, the dietary regimen is subject to change. The recommended calorie intake differs from girl to girl. Every girl child is unique in her growth patterns and health status.
- If your daughter is between two to three years of age, she needs 1000-1400 calories every day.
- If your daughter is between four to eight years of age, she needs 1200-1800 calories every day.
- If your daughter is between nine to thirteen years of age, she needs 1400-2200 calories every day.
- If your daughter is between fourteen to eighteen years of age, she needs 1800-2400 calories every day.
The concept of child marriage still exists in some societies. Parents may send their female children to child labour due to poverty. Many parents send their female child into menial jobs. And therefore, malpractices pose a threat to female child welfare in India.
Gender discrimination and antisocial elements:
Indiscriminate poverty, low social status, gender discrimination and poor reproductive health are major concerns in India. Domestic violence and physical assault add injuries to insult. They undermine the physical and mental health of female children and leave irreparable impacts on their welfare. Sexual abuse in childhood leads to Major Depressive Disorder in many female children. Sexual abuse may even lead to reproductive tract infections in later life.
Good health is not just a criterion but a birth-right. Appropriate source of nutrition for a female child is vital to her healthy development on various levels. They are physical, mental and social developments. A female child lays the foundations for future generations. Adequate employment opportunities and literacy rate play a crucial role in the growth of a country. Health status of female children may depend on many other factors. Officials concerned should strengthen and expand essential health services.