Girl Child Ratio

From its very initial days one of the issues that BJS has constantly focused as one of the core area of its activities is empowerment of women in the Jain Community, and also the larger society. One of the primary issue that came to the fore was the declining ratio of girl child within the community. In a sample survey of young men & women of marriageable age in the Jain community in Maharashtra in the year 1993, it was observed with concern that the ratio of women was alarmingly low within the community, i.e 780:1000. The one immediate consequence of this serious imbalance in the ratio was that 22% of the boys will not be able to find a partner from within the community.

In-depth root-cause analysis was carried out and following were the findings:

  1. Dowry system prevalent in marriage
  2. Financial burden on the family
  3. Male dominated culture – girl means liability & son means asset
  4. Social status -Gender equality
  5. Facility available for sex determination in the hospital

BJS embarked upon many unique initiatives focused on creating social awareness & women empowerment, especially concerning marriage practices & successfully initiated novel concepts like Mass Marriage, Parichay Sammelan, Empowerment of Couples, Counseling etc. All these were conceived and implemented to address a no of issues that contributed to the low girl child ratio. The objectives were to encourage the community and facilitate the following:

  1. Abolition of dowry system
  2. Facilitate finding the right match
  3. Make marriage easy – social support by organizing Mass Marriage
  4. Awareness programs about adverse sex ratio
  5. Creating awareness to enhance women’s status in the society

Quantifiable positive impacts of these initiatives were visible within a reasonable period of time. In a sample survey conducted in the year 2006 covering 50000 families from the community in Maharashtra, it was observed that the girl child ratio was already on the upswing, rising to 912:1000. This not only vindicated the novel initiatives by BJS but also strengthened its resolve to continue to work in this chosen area of women empowerment through various initiatives