While there are many beautiful things about Indian culture, there are also many that we seek to change. One of these problematic aspects of Indian culture impacts every level of society, from the highest levels of leadership down to every villager’s everyday life. And that’s the devaluing of women and girls’ lives.
Disturbing reports have come recently from one region in Uttarakhand, in northern India. It states that no baby girls have been born in 132 villages in the past three months. 216 boys have been born in those villages in the same time frame. Even though sex-selective abortions are illegal, that does not prevent them from happening.
Why Women Are Devalued in Indian Culture
A preference for boys is deep-seated in Indian culture. Boys carry on the family name. Boys have far greater earning power. Boys are given more educational and occupational opportunities. Women, on the other hand, are considered chattel. They are considered an economic drain on families who must bear the burden of paying a heavy dowry when their daughter eventually gets married. A daughter provides economic value to the family she marries into, not her own. She carries on their lineage, not her family’s.
We encourage you to feel empathy for the families who feel compelled to make this horrible choice: For the mothers who feel they have no other choice, the fathers who feel grief, for these people who are so overwhelmed with poverty that they believe there is no other way.
How Mid India Is Providing Hope to Indian Women
Mid India Christian Mission is a firmly pro-life organization. And, contrary to what many might say, that also makes us firmly pro-woman. From the start, our ministry has sought to show how God provides intrinsic, inalienable value to every bearer of His image, regardless of gender. That is why we started our Mercy Home. We saw how Indian girls are particularly vulnerable to kidnapping, exploitation, slavery, poverty, and exclusion from education. It’s also why we started our Widow’s Ministry. We saw how women who lost their husbands were made vulnerable and often rejected by their in-laws and parents. Without the skills to earn a living, and without the protection of their family, these women previously had no future.
Yet, we see Christ make the whole world new. Whether it be through the educational opportunities we provide at our schools, colleges, or vocational centers. Whether it be the protection and safe place to grow up we give to little girls. Whether it be through the food, prayer, and community we offer. We see transformation occur particularly where we have planted churches. Our church plant in Gandhigram has broken down the divide between Indian men and women. They worship intermixed instead of separately, as in many of our other, newer churches. Even though this change might seem small, it symbolizes the equality between men and women in that community. Equality based on the Truth of God.
We ask that you pray for the families in Uttarakhand who will never be the same. We ask that you pray for India’s culture to be transformed. This cannot be done without the Light of Christ renewing these families’ minds. We ask that you pray for our ministries to be effective as we model and teach this truth.