Loved and Unloved: The Girl Child in the Family

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Why does this book speak of the girl child and not of the child, whether boy or girl? The girl child is the endangered sex in our society. She remains entrapped in a complex social process that 'naturalises' her deprivation. Her place is within the family which traditionally has been viewed as a specially nurturing and protecting institution for her. Critically examining this view, the authors raise vital questions on gender-based discrimination within the family. Thirteen case studies poignantly reveal the way discrimination occurs. The authors have used the data for West Bengal compiled by the School of Women's Studies, Jadavpur University, as part of the national project on the girl child that was sponsored by the Indian government and carried out in twenty two women's studies centres. The book surveys 600 sample households, covering girls aged 7-18 years in selected rural and urban areas. It offers detailed analysis of the girl child's mother and her perceptions of her children; her daughters in particular.