First-world problem: Occasionally we give our children unusual, even peculiar names. As a general rule, though, we don’t go this far:
More than 200 Indian girls whose names mean “unwanted” in Hindi chose new names Saturday for a fresh start in life.
A central Indian district held a renaming ceremony it hopes will give the girls new dignity and help fight widespread gender discrimination that gives India a skewed gender ratio, with far more boys than girls…
“Now in school, my classmates and friends will be calling me this new name, and that makes me very happy,” said a 15-year-old girl who had been named Nakusa by a grandfather disappointed by her birth. She chose the new name “Ashmita,” which means “very tough” or “rock hard” in Hindi.
I expect to see an Ashmita fighting for the UFC title before too long.
That sex ratio is indeed skewed: barely 900 girls for every 1000 boys. And the reasons aren’t at all biological:
Such ratios are the result of abortions of female fetuses, or just sheer neglect leading to a higher death rate among girls. The problem is so serious in India that hospitals are legally banned from revealing the gender of an unborn fetus in order to prevent sex-selective abortions, though evidence suggests the information gets out.
Part of the reason Indians favor sons is the enormous expense of marrying off girls. Families often go into debt arranging marriages and paying for elaborate dowries. A boy, on the other hand, will one day bring home a bride and dowry.
Meanwhile, we kvetch about the glass ceiling.
(Via this Dan Collins tweet.)