Culturally Sensitive Approaches

Lessons from the Field

India

Restoring the Sex-ratio Balance

Laws have been passed in India to prohibit sex-selective abortion. But a broader campaign is needed to address this and other harmful practices that are rooted in a cultural preference for sons and influenced by social and economic factors.

WHAT WORKS? Lessons from India

  • Legal action b y itself is not enough to eliminate harmful tr aditional pr actices. To be ef fective, legislation should be part of a broad and integrated campaign that involves opinion makers and custodians of culture. In the case of sex-selective abortion, the campaign should also address structural issues underlying gender discrimination, in particular a widespread preference for sons.

  • The effective dissemination of research findings can bring controversial issues to national attention. In India, research informed an understanding of sex-selective abortion not only as a cultural issue, but one with social and economic dimensions.

  • Confronting harmful practices that are national in scope can best be addressed through a broad coalition of actors, each of whom can bring their own expertise in creating awareness and moving the issue forward.

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