I wrote this note in response to this tragic story on a mailing list:
Actually, these estimates are actually still not counting the lot. I researched this topic in 2004 and I found a figure of 35 million girls missing in India. Absolutely disgusting.
Here's the full essay in case anybody is bored enough to read it.
As long patriarchal societies and cultures abound, the value of women will never be high. But the behaviour is also driven by economics. When women earn less or none compared to men, their value to their families will always be lesser than sons. And everything being equal, given the limited number of children a woman can bear, it is but logical that they try to maximise their earnings potential.
Why do you ask? Because in our countries, children are our pension funds, and because of culture and economics, a girl child will never be at the same level as that of a boy.
What am I saying? Well, what I am saying is that millions and millions of more girl children will die despite our best efforts. That does not mean that we should not do our best. You might point to education and training and prosperity as one way to reduce this female foeticide, yes? No, surprisingly, more educated and prosperous the man and woman, the higher is the probability that they would kill their daughter (either via abortion or via post birth murder). Some of the most prosperous districts of the country are showing the lowest ratio's.
For those who want to point at religious factors, here's the results from the last census, Christians had a ratio of 1009 while Sikhs had the lowest 895 with Hindu's at 935 and Muslims at 940. In terms of location: worst affected states are: Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat (the very state of Gandhi), where the ratio less than 800 girls for every 1,000 boys.
Very complicated situation and the solutions are complex as well, and all this while, girls are being killed, day in day out...