In India, New Seat of Power for Women

Wow, I never expected an upside to India’s selective abortion of female fetuses, but apparently it brings an enpowerment of women.

An ideal groom in this dusty farming village is a vegetarian, does not drink, has good prospects for a stable job and promises his bride-to-be an amenity in high demand: a toilet.

In rural India, many young women are refusing to marry unless the suitor furnishes their future home with a bathroom, freeing them from the inconvenience and embarrassment of using community toilets or squatting in fields.

About 665 million people in India – about half the population – lack access to latrines. But since a “No Toilet, No Bride” campaign started about two years ago, 1.4 million toilets have been built here in the northern state of Haryana, some with government funds, according to the state’s health department.

Girls are traditionally seen as a family liability because of the high cost of dowry, often a life’s savings, when they marry, but the newly unequal sex ratios between men and women has changed the equation.

A societal preference for boys here has become an unlikely source of power for Indian women. The abortion of female fetuses in favor of sons – an illegal but widespread practice – means there are more eligible bachelors than potential brides, allowing women and their parents to be more selective when arranging a match.

This is sad, but it is a consequence. Apparently it’s happening in China, from what I read some time ago. Wish I could find the article to cite.

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