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Discrimination of female children in modern India: from conception through childhood

T. V. Sekher, Institute for Social and Economic Change
Neelambar Hatti, Lund University

In India, the widening gap in the ratio of girls to boys is clearly evident in the 2001 Census and is most pronounced in the youngest age group of 0 to 6 years (927 girls per 1,000 boys). The regional disparities have also widened, the northern states exhibiting a worsening trend as compared to the southern states. This paper examines the precarious situation of female children in India before birth (their chances of being born at all), at birth and during the first six years of childhood. Using census data and field level studies, an analysis was carried out on issues of sex-selective abortions, female infanticide (still prevalent in some parts of India), and discrimination and neglect of girl child. The findings show the widespread use of new technologies to eliminate female foetus and a nexus of economic, social and cultural factors that support the increasing discrimination against girls.

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Presented in Session 186: Demographic aspects of female discrimination: from conception through childhood