BBC to broadcast UN-funded documentary on India’s preference for sons

13 August 2008

A new documentary, funded in part by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), airs this week on BBC, spotlighting the issue of 700,000 missing girls in India as a result of the country’s drive to have male children.

“No country for young girls” explores issues such as illegal sex determination and consequent elimination, and its consequences for vast Asian nation in the years to come. It portrays a young Indian woman who has to choose between staying with a husband who does not want girl children, or to make it on her own.

According to a series of studies commissioned by UNFPA last year, prenatal son selection in several Asian countries – including India, China and Viet Nam – is likely to have severe social consequences in coming years. The agency has been working to address the issue for many years.

The documentary is part of a nine-part series – entitled Life on the Edge – which examines the tough personal choices facing ordinary people as countries struggle to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the set of anti-poverty targets that world leaders have pledged to try to achieve by 2015.

“Films about developing countries often portray people as victims faced by terrible obstacles. In this series we show they’re also people trying to make tough decisions that may change lives,” says Steve Bradshaw, the editor of the series.

“Each film is about ordinary people having to make extraordinary choices – tough economic, political and moral dilemmas. It’s never clear to them what the right answer is, and yet the cumulative effect will affect whether the MDGs are achieved,” he stated.


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