India's sex ratio second-most skewed in the world: WB

There has been a marginal fall in the number of missing girls since 1990


Trithesh Nandan | September 26, 2011

India stands an ignominious second in global rankings when it comes to skewed sex ratio - right after neighbour and rival China. "Nearly four million poor women go ‘missing’ each year in developing countries," said the ‘World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development', released by World Bank.

The report says that in China and India, the number of girls missing at birth remains high. 1,092 girls were missing at the time of birth in China while in India it was 257, which is marginal decrease from 1990 when it was 265.

The report suggested reasons for the two Asian economic giants' alarming sex ratios.

“The underlying cause is a son-preference among households, which has been exacerbated in some of these places by rapid income growth. Higher incomes have increased access to ultrasound technologies that assist in sex selection at birth.”  

The report said that among 3.9 million women missing around the globe, “two-fifths of them are never born, one-fifth goes missing in infancy and childhood, and the remaining two-fifths do so between the ages of 15 and 59.”

Such skewed sex ratio is continuing at a time when India is emerging as an economic giant. Many believe rich pockets of India (Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Bangalore) have higher incidences of female infanticide. The same is the case in the urban pockets of China.

The report advised countries to implement changes in policies to provide women with more access to education, health care (particularly maternal health), property rights, and political quotas.

As Beijing-based journalist for the Science magazine, Mara Hvistendahl says in her recently released book 'Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men', “Parents in rich countries produce boys, and parents in poor countries sell their daughters. That was a very sad thing I didn’t expect to find.”

Read the report



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