PR and Gendercide

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This blog is an assignment for one of my classes this semester, where I blog about various PR things, but am also able to share my own thoughts and perspectives. It’s my blog, I’ll share what I want. What do PR and Gendercide have to do with each other? Well, at first glance, it may not seem like it…but it has everything to do with each other.

Let’s back up.

What exactly is gendercide? As you know, due to the influence of technology and social media, people are becoming more aware of what is going on around the world. Suddenly, India and China are no longer two countries very far away, they’re brought closer by the presence of social media. And as we’re learning more about these countries and their cultures, we’re beginning to see things that we would rather not see. Call it cultural norms or tradition, but what is happening to the women in these countries cannot be ignored. Over the last 50 years, more than 250,000,000 women have been eradicated. They’re gone. Not here. Due to social pressures, families are being pressured for sons, and daughters are becoming expendable.

I recently came across a documentary trailer for an organization that is trying to tell the world a message. Will you take a few minutes and listen?

This is a big issue to me. Two of the most precious people in the world to me were victims of gendercide.

Esther and Emma Grace

Image Credit: Kate + Kris Photography

Image Credit: Kate + Kris PhotographyEsther and Emma Grace

These are my baby sisters.

They were both abandoned after their birth in China by their parents because they were both born, girls.

Two little girls.

Two different sets of birth parents.

Two different reasons.

Both abandoned.

Both, girls.

My family and I first became aware of the many little girls in China in need of families, and in 2003 we began the process of adoption. In August 2004, Emma Grace was placed in our arms and 18 months later, we traveled back to China to bring Esther home. (18 months after that we brought my sweet brother Asher home also; though he is not a victim of gendercide, but he was also a victim of abandonment.)

In China, tradition says that boys are favored over girls. For one, boys care for their parents in their elderly years, while a daughter will care for her husband’s parents. Since there is no retirement system in China, parents rely on their children for this. This became an issue when China decided to start dealing with population concerns by enforcing the one child rule. This has left many couples having to make a difficult decision, of wanting a daughter, yet needing a son. With the prevalence of ultrasound technology, many couples can find out the sex of their baby and choose to terminate the pregnancy if they desire. Ultrasound technology has been outlawed, but it’s still going on. And for couples who don’t have an ultrasound and have a daughter, the options become more difficult. Many couples will feel pressure from their families. Some may deal with the pressure. But others will have to find another option, and somehow get rid of the daughter. Because giving up a child for adoption is not allowed in China, couples have no choice but to abandon their daughter. And then try again, hopefully for a boy. For the lucky girls, parents will abandon their daughter in a place where she can be easily located, such as a market, train station or hospital. For the ones who are not so lucky, many little girls have been found drowned in rice fields or rivers. It’s very sad.

(I should add that boys are also abandoned in China, most of the time due to birth defects. But this isn’t as prevalent as girls being abandoned because of their gender.)

Esther and Emma Grace were amongst the lucky ones. My sisters were both abandoned by their parents and found and transferred to an orphanage where they were cared for until we adopted them.

I’d like to think that my sister’s birth parents loved their daughters, and abandoned them because they wanted to do what was best. Esther was born with some medical needs that required surgery, and we can assume that her parents were unable to afford the medical costs. Whatever the reason, we know that God worked their lives in this way so that they would become apart of our family. This is why I love adoption, because God can take a seemingly hopeless situation and turn it around to make something beautiful. I often wonder about their birth parents, and I hope that as my sisters grow, we will have educated them enough that they will not hate their birth parents, but love them for the sacrifice they made. Sometimes we often forget of what a sacrifice adoption is, for the families. Their loss, our gain.

This video makes me cry every time I watch it. It’s told from the perspective of the birth mother, who’s story is rarely told.

But Esther and Emma Grace are the lucky ones. And it’s because of them that it’s my responsibility to educate others about their past, what they came from…which is something that is still going on today. Little girls in China are still being abandoned, still being murdered simply because of their gender. While China has started realizing the problem and making small steps to combat it, it’s still a problem. Today, 118 boys are born for every 100 girls. This is a huge imbalance. Even now, there are many men without wives. And the problem will only continue to get worse.

And then there’s India. With families living in poverty and a caste-system, though outlawed, still governs their daily lives. If you watched the video, you could see how one couple has given birth to seven daughters…killed and buried each of them.

This is all so very difficult, and there’s really no one solution that will cause all of this to stop. We’re dealing with cultures so very different from our own, and social pressures we couldn’t imagine. But we can educate. We can teach women that they have value, that they are loved, cherished and desired. And also, teach the men this. That having a daughter is just as wonderful as a son.

So how does PR intersect with this issue? By spreading the word about the documentary. Show your friends the preview, tell them about it. Telling people through facebook, twitter, youtube is the best way we can show people to what is happening in our world. Just look at how KONY 2012 has swept the world. I believe Kony is just the start of people becoming more aware of the issues our generation faces. If you’re a woman, you have even more of an obligation…

Can you imagine being forced, or feeling like you have to kill your daughter, to honor your husband, family and society by bringing a son into the world? I can’t help but feel for these women who are forced to do the unthinkable because their culture has told them they aren’t worth living.

Let’s do something about our fellow sisters who are disappearing in the world…

It’s pretty crazy to think that the three most deadly words in the world are,

Its a Girl

Here are a few more articles on the prevalence of gendercide in the world:

Baby’s death in India blamed on father’s anger she was born a girl

The Afghan girls who live as boys

Its a girl: the three deadliest words in the world

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5 responses »

  1. Thank you so much for highlighting gendercide and sharing your story—it was deeply encouraging to read about Esther and Emma Grace. I work for an organization that is devoted to ending gendercide at its root in China by empowering the Chinese church to follow Jesus in honoring women and loving them sacrificially. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to know more about it (kat_at_allgirlsallowed.org). And again, thanks for sharing this!

  2. Wow, thank you for writing this post. We take for granted life and freedom to have children here in America. What mothers would do to be able to have a girl– to keep their child. But they are forced to abandon their child. Here, people get rid of their babies because they are inconvenient. What can we do to stop this? What can we do to help save these little girls’ lives?

  3. Pingback: Blog Comments: Peer COMM4333 « Public Relations

  4. Dear Sera,
    Thank you for writing this powerful blog post and for sharing your family’s own real encounter with daughter preference. We re-posted this on our Facebook page today: http://www.facebook.com/ShadowlineFilms – We would love for you to share a little more with our readership in our guest blog if you are open to it. If you are interested, you can contact me here: katrina[at]shadowlinefilms.com
    Warm regards,
    -Kat
    PS: Coincidentally, I noticed AGA’s Kat left a comment above – we are in fact two separate people! 🙂

  5. DUDE!!! This is amazing. You had me in tears with the videos, and it’s written so well!! I admire your beautiful heart and love for others. I will surely share this with everyone I know!!

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