A study conducted on four districts of the state under Mission Hazaar, an initiative of Breakthrough, reveals a declining sex ratio
Jasleen Kaur | February 21, 2015 | New Delhi
It is a myth that gender bias is restricted to rural areas. A study in four urban districts of Haryana shows marked increase in bias against girls.
While examining the gender differences in family size, boys mentioned they have more brothers than sisters, while girls mentioned they have more sisters than brothers. Sonali Khan, country director, Breakthrough, explains that family size tend to be big in families having more girls than boys, as families are more likely to stop having children when they have sons. It was found that 53% of the family members are males and 47% are females.
Enrollment wise, both male and female respondents mentioned that there are more boys and less girls in classrooms. The key question is not that girls are being denied education rights but do girls exist in equal number, says Khan. The survey was conducted between end of December and early February.
While the national average of sex ratio is 914 girls for every 1000 boys, various studies show that it is worst not only in rural areas but also in country’s most economically progressive areas. Haryana has the lowest child sex ratio compared to the national average of 919 (according to census of India 2011). It has 830 girls for every thousand boys. Further, in Panipat has 833, Rohtak has 807, Sonipat has 790 and Jhajjar has 774 girls for every thousand boys.
Regarding the occupation of women, majority of women are engaged in farming, followed by cattle rearing, handicraft and household work. Rarely, other occupations like doctor/engineer, police, politician, panchayat member, and teacher were mentioned.
Fewer girls in a society mean fewer girls in public places, says Khan. She adds, “This makes them appear more unsafe, which further reduces the mobility of girls and women. Mission Hazaar aims to bring attention to the missing girls/women by increasing awareness and started on-ground discussions on the declining child sex ratio and the overall sex ratio in India.”
The study, conducted in Panipat, Sonipat, Rohtak and Jhajjar, is based on responses of 10,000 in the age group of 12 to 14 years studying in government schools and colleges. It was part of Mission Hazaar, an initiative of Breakthrough, a global human rights organisation working for violence against women and girls.
While working in Haryana for two years, team Breakthrough found that the impact of missing girls is not perceived at the community level and when it is, it is seen in the context of a lack of brides or women to do household chores at home.
She adds that if communities realise the impact that gender-based sex selection is having on women and their society then there is a greater chance that the communities themselves challenge it.
The community neither feels the absence of women nor does it understands how this is caused by and further undermines the value and status of the women and their ability to make strategic life choices.
Khan says the current work in Haryana is based on this and is creating a significant impact. A report card that will quantify gender inequity and reveal quality of life of women and girls in society, based on their survey in select regions in Haryana, will be released on Sunday, February 22.
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