Published: Thu, February 01, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

India's 'Undesirable' Women Quantity In The Hundreds of thousands, New Report Finds

India's 'Undesirable' Women Quantity In The Hundreds of thousands, New Report Finds

The colour of this year's survey cover was chosen as a symbol of support for the growing movement to end violence against women, which spans continents.

In line with the worldwide conversation surrounding gender justice and equality - and as MeToo and TimesUp become household movements - the Economic Survey 2017-18 also had an overt, long-due theme this year - calling out the patriarchy in India, and stating how it affects socio-economic dynamics.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao [Save girls, Educate girls] initiative in 2015 in a sign the government prioritised women empowerment.

India regularly ranks among the worst countries on earth in terms of economic participation and opportunity for females, women's health and education for girls.

Only 24 percent of women in India were employed in 2015-16 and nearly 47 percent do not use any contraception, it said.

Additionally, the survey found that this preference led to couples adopting "stopping rules", where they have children until they have birthed the desired number of sons. As a result, there are 21 million girls who are unwanted by their families.

More news: Jaguar I-Pace set for 2018 Geneva auto show debut

The survey reached the conclusion after looking at the sex ratio of the last child (SRLC) indicator.

The skewed ratio of men to women is attributed to the phenomenon of "son preference" that continues to be prevalent among Indian families.

For all the social campaigns and awareness drives to end sex selection in India, the preference for sons is still going strong. These include patrilocality (women having to move to husbands' houses after marriage), patrilineality (property passing on to sons rather than daughters), dowry (which leads to extra costs of having girls), old age support from sons and rituals performed by sons.

Northern states of Punjab and Haryana shows both extremely high son preferences and son "meta" preferences.

Consigning these odious preferences to history soon should be society's objective, opines the Survey. "Within India, there is significant heterogeneity, with the North-Eastern states (a model for the rest of the country) consistently out-performing others and not because they are richer; hinterland states are lagging behind but the surprise is that some southern states do less well than their development levels would suggest", it is stated.

Broadly under these three parameters, roughly 17 indicators have been charted to gauge how deep-seated the problem of inequality is in India. Consider for instance, that the ratio of women taking up paid work has fallen from 39.5% to 39% between 2005-06 and 2015-16, marking India out as an outlier in this area.

Like this: