The Lancet, a leading medical journal, recently released a report documenting the trends in missing female births in India since the 1980s.
Here are some of the key learnings from the report:
- The total number of missing female births in India witnessed an increase of nearly 60%, from 3·5 million in 1987–1996 to 5·5 million in 2007–2016.
- North Indian states such as Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, and Rajasthan had the most skewed sex ratios. However, in almost all Indian states, families who already had daughters became more male-biased.
- During 2012-2016, the average sex-ratio at birth witnessed a drop with each new-born in the family:
- Sex-ratio of firstborn child: 899 girls to 1,000 boys
- If the firstborn is a girl, sex-ratio of second child: 885 girls to 1,000 boys
- If the first and second children are girls, sex-ratio of third child: 788 girls to 1,000 boys
- Girls with older sisters are at an increased risk of adverse health and survival outcomes.
- Missing female births are more common in richer and more educated families than in poorer and less educated families.
- The most cogent explanation for missing female births is prenatal sex determination followed by selective abortion.
India has had a long history with daughter-aversion stemming from social and cultural practices that enforce rigid norms of son-preference.
ADF India’s Vanishing Girls campaign aims to eradicate sex-selection and save the lives of thousands of girls who are aborted every day. We are advocating for the strict enforcement of the Prohibition of Sex-Selection Act. In the past year, the campaign has impacted over 1,700 persons by raising awareness on the issue through various campaign events, training workshops and social media.
We provide free legal assistance, through our panel of allied lawyers, to women who are being forced to undergo sex-selective abortions and suffer abuse for choosing to give birth to girls. For more details, visit www.adfindia.org/legal-aid.
Sign the pledge to protect the Girl Child: www.vanishinggirls.in/sign-the-pledge