The Three Deadliest Words in the World: “It’s A Girl”


Written by Juliana Rincon Parra

Between India and China, 200 million girls have gone “missing” as parents abort female fetuses or kill and abandon baby girls. Several documentaries and reports cover this phenomenon, trying to explain the causes for this deadly gender discrimination and figure out what can be done about it.

With the tagline of “The three deadliest words in the world”, the “It’s a Girl” documentary is one which through interviews and on-location filming is figuring out why 200 million girls are “missing” in India and China, and why there has been no effective actions to this problem.

Born to Die is another film investigating the rise in female feticide and infanticide in modern India.

Poh Si Teng for Global Post also has a video on the relationship between ultrasound devices, gender screening and female feticide, and whether the laws banning portable ultrasound will help stop the selective abortions in India:

The BBC’s 2007 investigatory documentary on India’s Missing Girls and people who are trying to turn the tide on a cultural phenomenon that affects all of India’s socio-economic levels: the cult of boys, and the belief that girls are not worth the trouble to raise them. The documentary, split in 3 parts can be found online (1, 2, 3).

One of the organizations trying to make the difference is the Aarti Home in Kadapa, who take in abandoned children, most of whom are girls abandoned because they are girls, and also talking to expectant mothers of female children to encourage them to have and cherish them.

Aarti House hopes to be a home for girls who were already rejected once for being girls and make sure they have a safe haven. At the very beginning of this next video, a young girl talks about the disadvantages and hardships she went through just because she was a female:

World renowned Chinese-American novelist Anchee Min, who writes strong female characters admits in this next video how she didn’t want to have a daughter, and all through her pregnancy, secretly hoped that it would turn out to be a boy, despite ultrasounds and tests because “Who wants to be a girl in China?”

Taiwanese Next Media Animation explores the consequences of the gender imbalance in China brought on by the One Child Policy and a society which values males more than females with the video and song No Girls Born (In China Anymore)

So there are no girls born, in China anymore
I feel so forlorn, with nobody to keep me warm
Confucian culture scorns daughters in favor of sons
So there are no girls born and I’m doomed to be just one

My parents chose me in utero to carry on the family name
But if I can’t find a bride I’ll be carrying nothing but shame
You gotta be tall, educated, and own your own house
miss one out of three, you won’t find a spouse

This post was originally published by Global Voices.


Related Stories:

Canadians Want Legislation to Regulate Sex-Specific Abortion

Missing — Over 100 Million Females

China’s “Leftover” Women


Photo from gustaffo via flickr


Fiona Fahey
Fiona Fahey6 years ago

Why must this happen?

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

What to say about this abhorrent mindset?!! I will be watching these docus. My two daughters are the greatest joy in my life, and if I had had sons, they too, would have been loved.

As I understand it, Chinese young men are having a terrible time trying to find women of their age, to marry -- there aren't enough around. That policy worked out well!!

Sheila M.
Sheila M7 years ago

@colleen p. - just exactly what mental illness do you suffer from? TAKE YOUR MEDS!

Christine Stewart

How sad that girls are devalued all over the world. Developing nations must be encouraged to educate their girls so they will be seen as productive, important members of society- not just another mouth to feed until she can be married off as young as possible...

KS Goh
KS Goh7 years ago

Thanks for the article.

April Thompson
April Thompson7 years ago


Samuel W.
Harley W7 years ago

This is terible. But those who oppose overpopulation probably take some joy in it.

When people do not respect the life of all people then it become possible for them to choose to kill babies and then they are so short sighted that they elimnate the possiblity of grandchildren.

Simon B.
Simon B.7 years ago

These people that throw away Baby girls are Idiots.

If these countries run out of women, Who are the (presumably VERY Homophobic) men going to romance? Certainly not each other.

Who's going to sire the Next Generation? Artificial Wombs? Perhaps, but you'd still need human egg cells to make babies.

Either way, It's a terrible senseless waste of human life, and I don't like it.

Lynn Squance
Lynn Squance7 years ago


Here is the link

Like a lot of things, in order to fight against something, you have to also understand the causes and fight to fix those too.

Lynn Squance
Lynn Squance7 years ago

Anecdote: Young newly weds decided to invite his parents for dinner. The bride, wanting to make a good impression, pulled out the best tablecloth and china. She made a roast ham, scallop potatoes and vegetables, things she knew her husband liked. When everybody was seated, she brought out the roast and placed it in front of her husband for carving. Her husband looked at the roast quizzically and asked what had happened to the rest of the roast. You see, the shank bone was hanging bare about 6 inches.
“I cut it off.” she said.
“But why?” he asked
“Because that is how my mother cooked ham.” she replied.
A call was made to her mother, and the question of ‘why?’ was asked. The reply came quickly. “Because that is how my mother cooked ham.” So a call to grandmother was made and the same question asked. “My roasting pan was too small for a full ham roast.”

We have traditions and too often we forget why we do things the way we do. Not wanting girls in some cultures is just as big an issue as it always was, but does everybody know why. And changing traditions is extremely difficult because they go to the heart of the culture.

I live in an area of Canada with a large East Indian population. You hear about abortions of girls because they are not wanted. There is a reference to an earlier story about Canadians wanting legislation to regulate sex specific abortions.
Here is the link