Sex discrimination in India begins in the womb: Study

PTI | Mar 28, 2013, 12.49 PM IST

A study suggests sex discrimination begins in the womb in male-dominated societies such as India.
WASHINGTON: Women in India are more likely to get prenatal care when pregnant withmale babies, according to a groundbreaking study that has implications for girls’ health and survival in patriarchal societies.

The study by Leah Lakdawala of Michigan State University and Prashant Bharadwaj of the University of California, San Diego, suggests sex discrimination begins in the womb in male-dominated societies such as India.

“It paints a pretty dire picture of what’s happening,” said Lakdawala, MSU assistant professor of economics.

In India, while it’s illegal for a doctor to reveal the sex of an unborn baby or for a woman to have an abortion based on the baby’s sex, both practises are common, Lakdawala said.

However, knowing the sex of the baby through an ultrasound also can lead to discrimination for those pregnancies that go full-term, she said in a statement.

In studying the national health-survey data of more than 30,000 Indians, the researchers found that women pregnant with boys were more likely to go to prenatal medical appointments, take iron supplements, deliver the baby in a health-care facility – as opposed to in the home – and receive tetanus shots.

Tetanus is the leading cause of neonatal deaths in India. According to the study, children whose mothers had not received a tetanus vaccination were more likely to be born underweight or die shortly after birth.

The researchers – the first to study sex discrimination in prenatal care – also looked at smaller data sets from other countries.

In other patriarchal nations of China, Bangladesh and Pakistan, evidence of sex-discrimination in the womb existed. But in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Ghana – which are not considered male-dominated – no such evidence existed.

“This type of discrimination we’re seeing, while not as severe as sex-selective abortion, is very important for children’s health and well-being,” Lakdawala said.

Given that previous research has linked early childhood health to later outcomes, sex discrimination in prenatal care might also have long-term effects.

“We know that children born at higher birth weights go to school for longer periods and have higher wages as adults, so the future implications here are pretty serious,” Lakdawala said.

The study appears in the Journal of Human Resources.


National Advisory Council- Draft Recommendations- Comments Invited

20th April, 2012

The decline in the child sex ratio (0-6 years), as reported by the Census of India, from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and further to 914 females per 1,000 males in 2011 – the lowest since independence – is cause for alarm and urgency.

The situation has worsened, despite the existence of a law banning the use of medical diagnostic technology for sex selection., several cash incentive schemes, and some mass media messages on the issue.

Taking note of this development, the NAC constituted a Working Group of its Members on the subject. The NAC Working Group held three national consultations on different aspects of this issue.

Check out draft recommendations here

Comments may be sent to the Convenors of the Working Group of NAC by 6th May, 2012 by email at wgs-gsr[at]nac[dot]nic[dot]in

or by post to
National Advisory Council
2 Moti Lal Nehru Place,
Akbar Road, New Delhi -110011.

Disproportionate sex ratio of kids alarming

India sex ratio map en

India sex ratio map en (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 02 2012:Participants of the workshop on Pre-conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Acts held  at State Guest House, Sanjenthong perceived that the disproportionate sex ratio of children below six years in the State is alarming.

The workshop was organised by the PNDT Division of the State Health and Family Welfare Department.

According to the participants of the workshop, the wide difference in the sex ratio of children below 6 years in the State is attributed to rampant practice of female foeticide.

Speaking as the resource person, State Nodal Officer of PC & PNDT, Dr Th Arunkumar pointed out that the State witnessed a decadal decline in sex ratio of children below six years during the last two decades.

He noted that the sex ratio  of the children in the age group of 0-6 years was 974 girls out of every 1000 boys in the census report of 1991.In the 2001 census record, the ratio was 967 girls out of every 1000 boys.

According to the latest census, 2011 the ratio was recorded as 934 girls out of every 1000 boys.

Dr Arunkumar however noted that the State is fairly better in comparison to other states of the country.

He pointed out that it is pertinent to dig deeper into the cause of such disproportionate sex ratio.

He speculated the main reason for the disproportionate in the sex ratio could be selective foeticide on girl child inside the wombs.

Stating that selective foeticide on girl child is a major crime, Dr Arunkumar said the PC & PNDT Act was passed by the Parliament in 1994 to prevent foeticide which came into force in 1995 across the country.

However, the Act was implemented in Manipur in 2003 .

Dr Arunkumar said though the Act was in force, it could not be implemented effectively due to shortage of manpower and infrastructure.

According to the Act, identification of the sex of a child through ultrasonography or other method is prohibited.

Any violator of the provision of the Act is punishable.

The punishment included imprisonment for six months up to seven years and a fine up to Rs 1 lakh according to the degree of the crime, pointed out member of Manipur State Appropriate Authority, PC & PNDT, N Bina Devi.

The Act also provisions punishment for unauthorised ultrasonography practitioners.

Director of Family Welfare Services, Dr L Surchandra said female foeticide could be checked if the PNDT Act is implemented effectively.

Senior gynaecologist Dr Tomba said that awareness among the people on equality of both sex should be spread through various medium.

Other speaker at the occasion included Senior gynaecologist Dr Sukumar.

Mukhbir Yojna scripts a success story in state

JAIPUR: The Mukhbir Yojna, which was launched in January to intensify the fight against sex selection, has now started paying dividends. In one of its major achievements, a doctor was caught red-handed for alleged involvement in sex determination in Jaipur‘s Vaishali Nagar area on Wednesday.

An official of the Pre-conception and pre natal diagnostic techniques (PCPNDT) cell said, “The Mukhbir Yojna has started showing results as we are getting tip offs on illegal practices. The doctor who was caught red-handed was an outcome of the Mukhbir Yojna.”

The government introduced the Yojna under which a person providing confirmed information about the involvement of a doctor or a medical staff in sex determination will get a reward of Rs 25,000. A reward of equal prize money has also been set aside for those who can give information about unregistered and illegal sonography machines.

The official said a day before the raid (on Tuesday), the PCPNDT cell received information about the doctor’s involvement in sex determination.

( How long will this work , thats the question )

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