Jharkhand village to name houses after daughters to fight skewed sex ratio

A village in Jharkhand’s Garhwa district, around 215km from the state capital, is making news by standing stall in lifting gender equality. Residents of Bharatia village with a skewed sex ratio have decided to install house nameplates carrying the names of their daughters to promote the symbolic gesture.

Sixty families of the village will have the nameplates installed on September 21 in the presence of the local MLA and state drinking water and sanitation minister, Mithilesh Thakur.

The deputy collector-cum-district education officer, Sanjay Kumar Pandey, has inspired the villagers to promote gender equality.

Efforts will continue to persuade the rest of the families — the 2011 census had counted 113 households in the village — to follow the example, village mukhiya Bindu Devi told a leading daily.

Acknowledging Pandey’s effort, Bindu said the collector regularly interacted with them and inspired them to promote gender equality as the village has one of the worst sex ratios in the state.

Bindu had organised a survey and handed Pandey a list of the names of daughters or other women of the households so that the nameplates could be prepared, as the officer would be bearing the cost of it.

“The sex ratio here is 740 females per 1,000 males, which is much lower than the national average of 943 and state average of 948,” Pandey said.

“That apart, the child sex ratio in this village is only 658 girls per 1,000 boys. I found it alarming and held several rounds of discussion with progressive-minded villagers with the mukhiya’s support and managed to convince them about this symbolic (nameplate) gesture.”

Pandey said the nameplate campaign was “only a beginning”.

“The village women will be encouraged to start a series of campaigns aimed at changing the mentality of the men towards the girl child,” he said.

Bindu said is trying to educate some of the villagers who had objected to the idea as they felt it would mean passing on the ownership of their houses to the daughters.

Bharatia, 7km from Garhwa town, is a village of the Other Backward Classes and tribal families.