In what comes as a disturbing shock to India, a quarter of a million girls die in India every year due to gender discrimination, concluded a Lancet study on 15 May. The study used 2011 census data to reach this number of what it calls “avoidable deaths” in 35 states and union territories and 640 districts of the country.
More than 90 percent of districts had excess female mortality, but the four largest states in northern India (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh) accounted for two-thirds of India’s total number. Low economic development, gender inequity, and high fertility were the main predictors of excess female mortality.Lancet Study
This staggering number of an estimated 239,000 deaths does not take into account pre-natal deaths. Additionally, data from 46 countries which have shown no evidence of gender bias for mortality to draw conclusions in this first of its kind study in India.
The most hard hit areas were the rural regions with low levels of education, according to the study.
The Population Census of 2011 further reveals that the population ratio of India in that year is 943 females per 1,000 males. The country’s sex ratio for the last five decades, instead of improving rapidly, has been stuck at around 930. Furthermore, in 2031, India will have 936 females per 1,000 males, lower than the sex ratio in 1951 of 946 females per 1,000 males, the World Bank predicts.
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