What are reasons behind the disproportionate death of girl children in India?

Despite of the natural biological advantage they girl child have over male child for survival there are higher mortality rates of girl Child. A study in the journal BMJ Global Health, suggests that the unequal treatment of females in society could be the reason behind this.

Reasons for the disproportionate death rates

In 2015, a total of 5.9 million children under the age of five years died and more than half of these early deaths were preventable. The reasons for these disproportionate deaths include

  • Unequal societies where in male child is given preference and priority.
  • As a result of the misogynist and sexist ideology young girls are often at greater risk of mortality because of the diminished access to health resources, and heightened exposure to health risks.
  • The girl child is also further exposed to this risk via their mothers who may be penalised and valued less than mothers of sons. Hence they would be less able to provide for their daughters.
  • India lives in its villages. The villages still capsulated by the parochial mindset which belittles women. This translates into disproportionate death of girl Child.

Where India stands?

  • India and Tonga are the only two places where mortality rates of girls higher than that of boys.
  • The economic survey of 2018 that there were 21 million Indian girls who are unwanted wherein parents wanted a boy but had a girl instead.
  • In sick newborn care units across the country, there is a 60:40 ratios of boys and girls admitted which means baby girls, even when there is a need, do not reach health facilities and are denied treatment.

There is a need of an inclusive policy which extends its focus beyond economic development, and work to reduce gender inequality across a variety of domains including reproductive health, political empowerment, educational attainment, and participation in the work force.


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