State of the World Population Report 2020

Context: Recently, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has released the State of the World Population 2020 Report.

Key Highlights of State of the World Population 2020 Report and India

  • One in three girls missing globally due to sex selection, both pre- and post-natal, is from India.
  • India accounts for 45.8 million of the world’s 142.6 million “missing females” over the past 50 years.
  • The number of missing women has more than doubled over the past 50 years, who were at 61 million in 1970.
  • India has the highest rate of excess female deaths at 13.5 per 1,000 female births or one in nine deaths of females below the age of 5 due to postnatal sex selection.
  • China and India together account for about 90-95 per cent of the estimated 1.2 million to 1.5 million missing female births annually worldwide due to gender-biased (prenatal) sex selection.

Reasons for increase in Missing Females in India

  • The issue of missing women is examined by studying sex ratio imbalances at birth as a result of gender-biased sex selection.
  • There is excess of female mortality due to deliberate neglect of girls because of a culture of son preference.
  • The advent of technology and increased access to ultrasound imaging ensured that parents didn’t have to wait for the birth of their girl child to kill her but could terminate a foetus upon knowing its gender.
  • The number of girls missing due to female foeticide exceeding those that were missing because of post-natal sex selection.

Way Forward

  • India and Vietnam have included campaigns that target gender stereotypes to change attitudes and open the door to new norms and behaviours.
  • Campaigns that celebrate women’s progress and achievements may resonate more where daughter-only families can be shown to be prospering
  • The successful education-related interventions include the provision of cash transfers conditional on school attendance should be adopted.
  • Ending child marriage and female genital mutilation worldwide is possible within 10 years by scaling up efforts to keep girls in school longer and teach them life skills and to engage men and boys in social change.

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