Monday, 28 February 2011

Birth Registration and distorted birth sex ratio in China and India

In some populous countries, such as India and China it is possible to identify a twofold forms of gender discrimination. Not only birth registration is more difficult for girls, but beyond this, cultural beliefs and traditions in these countries push for distorted birth sex ratio in favor of boys:

Birth registration
In 2003, it was calculated that 48 millions, the 36% of children born, were not registered and among these females constituted the majority of the so called "black" children.

Further information are available in the following documents:
Birth sex ratio
This indicator measures the proportion of males to females in a given population. The variable is usually expressed as the number of males per 100 females. At global level the average ratio of males to females in newborns is among 105/100. Some Asian countries, such as India, China and Viet Nam report higher rates, as indicated in the chart below, revealing the existence of this second form of gender bias:

From the literature review it emerges that the weight of traditional beliefs and the influence of a strongly patriarchal society were responsible in the past for the high rates of female infanticide or abandonment. The document outlines how nowadays, these practices ceased but  the emergence and spread of prenatal sex determination technologies at affordable prices favored the recourse to sex selective abortion. The current sex imbalance negatively affects women rights and their position in the Indian society. As mentioned in the paper: …"the traditional roles as wife, daughter-in-law or mother would become increasingly in demand, be enhanced at the expense of other life courses, such as decisions regarding celibacy, or opting for a career. Pressure towards early marriage may be detrimental to women’s education, training and employment; their permanent or temporary withdrawal from the workforce may be encouraged, in order to give them adequate time to act as (traditional) wives or mothers"…

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