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Undesired: In India, boys are prized over girls with violent results

Walter Astrada for Alexia Foundation / Reportage by Getty Images

A nurse feeds an abandoned baby girl, with others nearby in cradles in a room at the Life Line Trust Home in Salem, Tamil Nadu, India. In its latest initiative to wipe out the practice of female foeticide and female infanticide, the government of Tamil Nadu has set up cradle homes where unwanted girls can be abandoned.

For years, photojournalist Walter Astrada has photographed the issue of violence against women in countries around the world. His latest story focuses on gender selection in India. In partnership with the Alexia Foundation and MediaStorm, he tells this story:

India is a diverse country, separated by class and ethnicity. But all women confront the cultural pressure to bear a son. This preference cuts through every social divide, from geography to economy. No woman is exempt.

This preference originates from the belief that men make money while women, because of their expensive dowry costs, are a financial burden. As a result, there is a near constant disregard for the lives of women and girls. From birth until old age, women face a constant threat of violence and too frequently, death.

Watch the compelling video, below.