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Young Men In India Ask Politicians To Find Them Wives

The Indian government has known for a while now that certain parts of the country are suffering a shortage of females.  But now The Calcutta Telegraph reports that young voters are asking politicians to solve the problem in the Northern state of Haryana, where there are only 861 females for every 1000 males. 

In parts of India daughters are still looked upon as a financial burden, leading many prospective parents to abort female fetuses; though abortion based on gender is illegal, it still happens.  Additionally, the state's high unemployment rate isn't helping.  Many young men are buying brides from other states, something that worries human trafficking experts, and many families are marrying their daughters off to men living in other states with better job prospects. 

In Haryana, young men have taken to the streets; a protest is planned for Wednesday in advance of the October 13 elections.  "This is the first time we have faced such a problem. The sex ratio is indeed dismal in the state, but it’s a problem only society can rectify,” says a senior Congress leader.

For fifteen years now it has been illegal to tell a pregnant woman the sex of her child, and it's illegal to abort fetuses based on gender.  But, according to a Globe and Mail report, it still happens.  The government has tried to help, giving parents cash when a daughter is born and more cash on her eighteenth birthday.  But while these offerings seem to be working with poor families who may not otherwise be able to afford the girl's dowry, the skewed sex-ratios are greatest among wealthy families who see daughters as a social stigma.  In urban areas of the Punjab, for instance, boy births outnumber those of girls by a shocking ratio of over three to one.

"I don't care if men don't find brides," says Navsharan Singh, of the Canadian-based International Development Research Centre.  “What matters are the social and political entitlements of the women who survive – those of us who made it. It's a devaluation of women manifest in such violent form: Your very sex is so worthless it's being eliminated.”

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