Since many centuries birth of a girl child in India and other parts of the world has been seen as a financial burden on the parents and family. This view is mainly based on perceived low economic earning capacity of women, prejudiced patriarchal views and dowry to be paid to groom’s family at the time of girl’s marriage.
In this article I will prove that contrary to the common belief that a girl is a liability on the family, she is actually an asset. It all depends on the parenting and upbringing of their children that whether they turn into an asset or liability irrespective of the child being a boy or a girl.
Low earning capability of women
It is actually a wrong belief that girl/women have low earning capability than men. Many scientists claim that actually women have more mental capability than men. It would mean that for mental jobs such as managerial/supervisory as well as high research oriented jobs women are at least as capable as men are if not more. Moreover there are certain jobs in which women enjoys clear competitiveness over men such as childcare, geriatric care, teaching, nursing etc. With changing demography and economic structure of the world these jobs are going to increase and women may become more employable than men in future.
Therefore it is imperative for the parents and larger society to shed the prejudiced view against women and try to provide them with safe and secure environment to work peacefully and contribute towards economic growth of the country. Parents must provide their girl child with equal opportunities in education, sports, nutrition etc. and help their girl child to choose whatever career she wants to choose.
Dowry – The big question mark
It is the marriage of the girl which gives much headache to the parents. In India marriage of a girl often results in ending her professional career as well as huge financial burden on parents of the girl towards marriage expenses and dowry gifts.
There are several ways to tackle this. Dowry though illegal in India under Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 has widespread social acceptance. Parents and girl can claim protection under this Act if asked for dowry.
Various Indian laws for succession give a girl right over ancestral property of parents. It means that legally part of ancestral property belongs to the girl also.
So even if parents are giving dowry to the girl (mark here I am saying dowry to the girl not to groom) or give rights over ancestral property they have to part away with some of their money. So, giving away dowry could not be really a financial burden. You are giving away a part to the girl which rightfully belongs to her anyways.
Smart moves to earn rich dividends of having a girl child
·Use of government promotional schemes – such as Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY), Ladli Yojana, Various scholarships etc. for the girl child etc. à these schemes help to raise, educate and groom a girl child cheaper than raising a male child. They also provide good investment and tax benefits too.
·For example – Under SSY, a guardian of a girl child below the age of 10 years can open a SSY account for her. Maximum amount that can be deposited in this account is 150,000 rupees per annum and minimum being 1000 rupees a year. The accounts gives one of the highest interest rates (about 9.2% currently), which no other such products give. Contributions to SSY account also give income tax deductions under section 80C of the Income Tax Act. à 30% bracket income tax payers thus can earn effectively upto 16-17 % rate of return by investing in SSY.
·Most universities and educational institutions provide special scholarships etc. for women. Make use of them to save money.
·Opt for small family- one or two child (be it boy or girl), educate and support them well, infuse good moral values into them and make them an asset for the family and the country.
So, we see that girl child could in fact help create wealth for parents rather than being a financial burden on the family. The parents thus need to invest in the education and capability building of their girl child along with using available schemes for the promotion of the girl child.