A gender discrimination study has found that a huge number of young girls in India are being neglected because of the society’s preference for boys.
Almost a quarter of a million girls under five are dying every year as a result of this neglect, researchers have claimed in medical journal The Lancet. That figure does not include abortions undertaken because of gender bias.
- Escalating anger in India over rape of two girls
- 'Significant concerns' for autistic woman who ran away to India
“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 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.”
Data was taken from 46 countries to discover how many infant girls would have died in areas where there was no discrimination impact, and how many girls actually died, the Guardian reported. The study found that around 19 deaths of every 1000 girls born between 2000 and 2005 was a result of gender bias.
“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 noted that rural areas and places with high density were hardest hit. Indian states including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh accounted for two-thirds of deaths.