The sex ratio of female to male has steadily increased over the past three years. Yet, people are still worried about the decline in sex ratios. Not without reason though. Maharashtra is one of the largest states in India, Mumbai being its capital, the decline in sex ratio is seen more in this metropolis.

Areas such as Bhuleshwar, Marine Lines, Mazgaon, Parel, Matunga, Dadar to Bandra (East), Andheri (West), Mulund and Nahur have shown a considerably steady decline in the gender birth ratio. Goregaon and Aarey Colony have shown a persistent dip since 2014.

Dr Armida Fernandez, the founder and the chairperson of the NGO SNEHA said that the time has come for the government to focus on behavioural change to alter the huge preference of boys over girls. She further said that the government should spend money on changing mind-sets, rather than on enforcing laws.

She also said that: “Girls are still underfed and under-educated. We have to look at issues of patriarchy if we want a solution.”

From the ratio being 950 girls for every 1000 boys, over the past four years it has dropped to 941 (2015), 935 (2016), 915 (2017) and now it has become only 906 girls for a 1000 boys in Mumbai. According to researchers, the data decline is suggestive of the fact that the decline in the ratios was due to lower, middle and upper class neighbourhoods in the city.

The brighter side of the story is that the sex ratio in 2018 was 939 girls for every 1000 boys. This is an 8 point increase from 2014, when it was 931 girls for every 1000 boys. The data clearly shows how people are becoming more aware and are much more open to accepting girls as their children. The decrease in the gap is symbolic of the fact that a change is in progress. People are open and ready to contribute towards equality of genders than follow strict patriarchal norms as far as preference for a male child is concerned. However, a lot of work still needs to be done, so as to reduce this inequality even further. Even now, there are regions in India, where the gender gap is even wider.

International Institute of Population Science (IIPS), an institute which looks into causes that affect sex ratios has in its data disclosed factors like – contraception, spacing and illegal sex determination as the probable reasons. Another factor affecting this is the differential stopping rule behaviour.

The differential stopping rule behaviour is essentially when couples with a high preference for sons use contraceptive methods to halt fertility following a male birth.

Also, the very fact that there are women who come to Mumbai to give birth and there are people who leave Mumbai to deliver at their maternal home is what makes calculating the sex ratio even more difficult.

But as a nation, we need to stand up for what we believe in, and commit ourselves to the cause of reducing the gender gap at birth.

Read also: Sex Ratio at Birth Dips in 17 out of 21 states, reports Niti Aayog

Pic credit: NewsClick

Kavya Shah is an intern at SheThePeople.Tv

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