During my weekly visit to Prempuri Basti in Gurgaon, I came across a family, where the woman already has 4 daughters, the eldest one around 7 years old and the youngest one about 5 months old. We few volunteers, usually 3-4 in number, go as a small team every Sunday to this slum area located in Sec-32, Jharsa, Gurgaon, where we are trying to work under a Community Empowerment Program.
Upon a brief interaction, the lady mentioned that her husband and her in-laws still want a male child. Her husband is a rickshaw-puller and the lady works as a household maid. The family is basically from Begusarai in Bihar, but has been in Gurgaon for about 12 years now. She also shared that before having her 4th daughter, she used to stay at her in-laws place, who also live in Gurgaon. But after not being able to give a son to the family, her in-laws had asked her to move out and stay separately with her husband and her daughters.
While we were discussing the matter with her, her husband had gone for work. We tried to ask her if we can intervene in some manner to talk with her husband. But the lady told, that she is not much hopeful in this aspect that her husband would be open to discussion. She was also concerned that taking care of 4 children is in itself a herculean task, and that too on a meager income. As per education, she has studied till class 5, but her husband is unable to read and write.
Now this becomes a classic case, where a woman does not wants to bear any more child, but has to deal with the pressure from her in-laws and her husband of giving them a son. Her husband also has 3 sisters, which might add to further desire of having a male child in the family. She was also worried that what if the 5th child is also a daughter. May be some more systematic intervention is required in terms of talking with her husband and her in-laws.
But when the preference for the male child runs so strongly in the family, I have apprehensions as what can be achieved through outside intervention.
May be some suggestions or advice can come handy, as what can be done to tackle this case.