Is a Daughter Not Valued?

SUNMAYA’S MOTHER FACED ABUSE AND SHAME FOR NOT GIVING BIRTH TO A SON.

Despite changing attitudes around the world toward gender equality, most villages in Nepal still consider daughters a curse instead of a blessing. The mother of Sunmaya Gurung is an example of such oppression.

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My mother underwent physical and mental torture from my father, family, and village due to the fact that she gave birth to seven daughters but no son. She was blamed for ending the family line and was expelled from home time after time. She frequently received threats that my father would find a new spouse who could give birth to a son. Was it my mother’s fault? Was it really a crime to give birth to daughters? Is a daughter not valued?

My mother grew feeble and frail due to a lack of nutrition during all the deliveries and to our lack of wealth. One day when my mother was in labor, my father died. His death ruined the economic status of our family.

Being the eldest daughter, I had to assume the responsibility of providing for the family. I was forced to discontinue my education despite all my academic interests. Our whole village hated us due to the absence of any male figure in the family. We feared ruining our reputations in case any misdeeds occurred. I still wanted to continue the schooling for my growing sisters and care for my mother. To support them, I urgently needed a job.

I thought of leaving to work in another country because a woman from my village had earned a significant amount of money abroad. One day I asked my mother for her consent to let me go abroad. My mother did not want me to go before she consulted a social worker. This person, Raju Gurung, helped get me connected to the Journey Home Foundation so that I wouldn’t have to leave Nepal.