Almost 63 million women are said to be “missing” from India’s population as a result of disease, female foeticide, neglect or inadequate nutrition, according to a recent government survey.
The survey has found that over two million women disappear every year due to such reasons.
Preference For Sons Driving Indian Parents
Released earlier this week, the survey has highlighted the phenomenon of “son preference” amongst Indians which has resulted in an estimated 21 million “unwanted” girls. The report noted that Indian parents often keep having children until they “have the desired number of sons.”
More families having sons stop having children than in families where a girl is born the report said.
Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, a former India representative at the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women(UN Women), noted that the Indian society is aware of the issue , adding that even though a law prohibits the sex determination of a foetus, “it is still widely practiced”.
She added that the practice continues even in states where people are “more educated and have higher incomes”. This she said, proves that economic development and higher level of education is not sufficient to ensure gender equality. Even “a legal and policy system” that has “done everything” to ensure legal rights for women and for girls “has not been enough,” she added
Government Campaigns Launched
The survey findings come even as India’s sex ratio has steadily worsened over the years in spite of government campaigns for gender parity. In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao [Save girls, Educate girls] initiative to indicate the government’s focus on women empowerment.
Tavares said that she believed that the government is “seriously committed “to tackling the issue “.