Gender Bias Kills 239,000 Girls Under Five In India Each Year: Study
Findings from the Study
- The figure, amounting to 2.4 million deaths a decade, does not include pre-natal mortality rates.
- “Gender-based discrimination towards girls doesn’t simply prevent them from being born, it may also cause the death of those who are born,” wrote the study’s co-researcher Christophe Guilmoto in the Lancet medical journal.
- Guilmoto said that gender equity is not limited to rights to education, employment or political representation. In the true sense, equity is also about care, vaccination, and nutrition of girls.
- Twenty-nine out of 35 Indian states showed excess mortality in girls under five.
- The study’s authors, The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), a scientific institute based in Austria, released a statement that read, “Around 22% of the overall mortality burden of females under five is therefore due to gender bias.”
Areas worse affected are typically rural regions, with low levels of education, high population densities and high birth rates
- It found that the problem was mostly in northern India. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh, accounted for two-thirds of the total deaths of infant girls under five.
- The study’s co-author is IIASA’s Nandita Saikia. She believes the findings reflect the need to address issues of gender discrimination. “Unless son preference diminishes, lower fertility, however, might bring about a rise in gender-biased sex selection,” said Saikia.
- Preference for boys, availability of sex-selective operations (although illegal in India), indicates a gender gap of 63 million girls. As a result, India has one of the most skewed sex ratios in the world. For every 107 males born in India, there are 100 females. According to the World Health Organization, the natural sex ratio at birth is 105 males for every 100 females.
Many of the deaths were due to neglect, both within their families and from health practitioners. Studies have shown that Indian girls receive less education, have poorer nutrition and get less medical attention than boys. These are shocking findings considering the time and age we’re living in.