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63 million women ‘missing’ across India

More than two million women disappear every year in India [File: Adnan Abidi/Reuters]
Nearly 63 million women are “missing” from India’s
population due to foeticide, disease, neglect, or inadequate nutrition, a
government survey says, adding that more than two million women disappear every year.
The survey, released on Monday, pointed out the
phenomenon of “son preference” among Indians that has created an
estimated 21 million “unwanted” girls.
“Indian parents often continue to have children till they have the desired number of sons,” it said.

“Families that have sons are more likely to stop having children than
families where a girl is born. This is suggestive of parents having
children until they have as many sons as they want.”

Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, a former India representative at the
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women,
also known as UN Women, said: “the Indian society has been aware of this
issue for some time”.

“It is against the law to determine the sex of a foetus, but it is
still widely practiced. And we find that even in the states where people
are more educated and have higher incomes, the practice is more
widespread,” Tavares said.

“It really goes to show that economic development and higher level of
education are not enough to promote or ensure gender equality. Even
having a legal and policy system that has done everything to ensure
legal rights for women and for girls, has not been enough.”

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The survey comes as the sex ratio in India worsened over the years despite government campaigns to bring gender parity.

source: Al jazeera

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