Every year almost a quarter-of-a-million girls younger than five die in India because of neglect resulting from society’s preference for sons, a gender discrimination study found on Tuesday.
The researchers published their findings this week in the Lancet medical journal and did not include those aborted due to being female.
“Gender-based discrimination towards girls doesn’t simply prevent them from being born, it may also precipitate the death of those who are born,” said study co-author Christophe Guilmoto of the Paris Descartes University.
“Gender equity is not only about rights to education, employment or political representation, it is also about care, vaccination, and nutrition of girls, and ultimately survival.”
Guilmoto and a team of researchers used the population data from 46 countries in order to calculate how many infant girls would have died inside of a society where there was no discrimination impact and then how many died in reality.
They found a difference of almost 19 deaths out of every 1,000 girls born between 2000 and 2005, was ascribed to the effects of gender bias. This amounted to about 239,000 deaths per year.
“Around 22% of the overall mortality burden of females under five (in India) is therefore due to gender bias,” the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) a research institute based in Austria, said in a statement.
The researchers said the problem was concentrated in northern India with the states Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh making up almost two-thirds of the additional deaths.
> Shiuly Rina