Sex Ratio is defined as the number of females per
Sex Ratio is an important social indicator to
measure the extent of prevailing equity between
males and females at a given point of time.
Sex Ratio can be
Primary - ratio at the time of conception
Secondary - ratio is the ratio at time of birth
Tertiary - ratio of mature organisms
India is said to be another Asian economic superpower
after China. Economic growth, better technologies and
mushrooming businesses have changed India’s status
from ‘developing’ to ‘fast developing’ nation. However,
the world’s second largest populous country’s
achievements have failed to impress social scientists,
anthropologists and demographers because of its record
of continued recession in sex ratio.
The sex ratio in India, as per 2001 Census, is 1000:927
while in some states like Gujarat the ratio stands at
1000:878, Himachal Pradesh 1000:820 and Chhatisgarh
1000:845, according to the National Commission of
In 1991, the national figure was 947 girls to 1000 boys.
Even as the latest UNDP Report ranks India 119 in the
Human Development Index, in the Gender Inequality Index,
India ranks 122 at 0.748.
A survey conducted by the United Nations in 2007 revealed
that over 2,000 unborn girls are aborted every day in India
While we boast that we have a female President in Pratibha
Patil and a female leader of the ruling coalition in the
Parliament in Sonia Gandhi - while we celebrate the
staggering achievements of Kalpana Chawla, Sunita Williams,
Indra Nooyi, Kiran M. Shaw and Sania Mirza - we all fail to
undo the hypocrisy of sex selection in India.
According to the most
recent estimates, China
and India account for
nearly 80 per cent of all
‘missing women’ in the
Female infanticide / Foeticide
Son preference - Sons, on the other hand, can inherit property, continue the
family line, and play a vital role in important Hindu rituals. when investing on
sons, say on education or business, the wealth remains within the family
Practice of dowry - Indian wedding customs mean that girls are often seen as
a huge cost with very little returns, partly because the practice of demanding
dowries remains the norm, despite being illegal.
o The unabated practice of the selective abortion of girls in the womb needs to
be stopped in a bid to evade insecurity and shortage of girls in the long run.
On April 19,2007 authorities in Gujarat found over a dozen human foetuses in
a rubbish bin in Ahmedabad. They suspect that local abortion clinics might
have dumped the foetuses after conducting illegal sex determination tests.
There are many rituals in our society which are to be
performed by the son of the family. Our society makes it very
necessary to have at least one son. Men regarded as a
protector in our society so this feeling tends the families to go
for sex selective abortion.
A girl child is discriminated against in many ways - ranging from
abandonment of girl children, fewer months of breast feeding,
less of nurturing and play, lesser medical treatment if falls ill
etc. all working against the very existence of girl child. Today,
with the Technological Advancement in medical diagnosis this
discrimination begins even before her birth. Various medical
technologies have been put into practice to identify the sex of
the child before the birth and selective abortion, if found
A study was conducted by Sreevidya Subramoney & Prakash
C. Gupta, Mumbai. The available data demonstrate
ultrasound misuse as a major culprit. The data revealed
lower sex ratios among women accessing private hospitals
compared to those accessing government hospitals
(780 vs 872).
It is estimated that by 2020 there could be more than 25
million young 'surplus males' in India. , the loss of the
'natural balance' will result in a skewed society which will be
warped from within to the extent of being unable to
concentrate on other important issues of national interest.
The Hindi movie Matrubhoomi (2005) tried to portray this.
o Ethical Concerns
It leads to increase in the acts of sexual violence ,
discrimination, and abuse of the smaller group.
There may be psychological implications for both the
parents and child if the procedure does not produce a child
of the desired sex. Furthermore, problems may also arise if
the gender-related expectations of the parents are not
subsequently fulfilled by the child. However, it may be the
case that any child will fail to fulfill particular parental
The Indian government banned sex-determination tests at national
level in 1994 with the Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT)
(Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act. The new legislation
authorised only government- registered clinics and laboratories to
utilise prenatal diagnostic procedures that could be used to find
out the sex of the foetus. The Act further rejected the use of
prenatal diagnostic procedures unless there is a heightened
possibility that the foetus suffers from a harmful condition or
genetic disease. However, the law has by far proved ineffectual.
The law’s ineffectiveness is also proved by the reports that claim
Indian women in the UK come to India to abort their female foetus
to have more boys.
Government schemes like “Laadli” support single girl child
The problem has to be tackled through women’s education and
empowerment including the right to property and land rights.
Women should also be socialized from early childhood to consider
themselves equal to men. They should be encouraged to assume all
those responsibilities, which are normally considered to belong to
the male domain. This would have a positive influence on future
generations, as today’s girls would be tomorrow’s mothers, as well
Central/state governments should
popularize schemes in operation in
the states through economic benefits
that could accrue to those families
having a girl child, similar to the
Shagan scheme launched by the
Government of Punjab, Apni beti
apna dhan, Balika samriddhi yojana.
Multimedia campaigns at the
National and state levels should be
launched against female foeticide to
create awareness to curb the
problem and synergize government
initiatives to promote womenoriented programmes
In a Nation where women are considered the symbol of
strength and purity and are worshipped , we should be
reminded of our values and the fact that in order to be a
developed nation we have to develop the woman power