According to The State of World Population Report 2020 released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the number of “missing females” globally has more than doubled in 50 years. In 1970, the missing females’ population was 61 million and it rose to 142 million globally in 2020. India and China form the majority of missing women globally of which India accounts for 45.8 million of the world’s 142.6 million. As of “missing females “global figure 2020, India accounts for 45.8 million and China for 72.3 million.
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WHO ARE MISSING FEMALES?
The missing women indicate a shortfall in the number from a population at a time in a region or world. It happens due to the growing effect of pre and postnatal sex selection occurring from the past.
In India, between 2013-17, around 4,60,000 girls were “missing” at birth each year. According to reports, gender-biased sex selection accounts for two-third of missing girls. And, post-birth female mortality holds one-third of it. India has it’s the highest rate of excess female deaths, 13.5 per 1,000 female births. It suggests that an estimated one in nine deaths of females below the age of 5 may be due to postnatal sex selection.
51% of young women with no education and 47% of those with only a primary education married by the age of 18. Only “29% of young females with secondary education, and 4% with post-secondary married before 18″.
This year globally an estimated 4.1 million girls will be subjected to female genital mutilation.
INDIA AND CHINA HOLDS MAJORITY OF MISSING FEMALES
India and China together account for about 90-95 % of an estimated 1.2 million to 1.5 million missing female births annually worldwide. It’s due to gender-biased (prenatal) sex selection. These two countries also account for the largest number of births each year. More births due to a large population. According to reports, the government has taken action to find the root cause of sex selection. India and Vietnam have included campaigns targeting gender stereotypes to change attitudes.
Also, opening the door to new norms and behavior. It projects the importance of daughters and highlights how women have changed society for the better”. Also, campaigns that celebrate women’s progress and achievements.
The reports said, initiatives in India like “Apni Beti Apna Dhan” provide cash transfer conditional on school fees, books, and educational costs. But, after all this, the number of missing females is still growing.
WHAT IS MARRIAGE SQUEEZE AND HOW IT WILL AFFECT US?
It refers to the demographic imbalance where the number of potential brides doesn’t equal the number of potential grooms. It’s seen in some countries and affects mostly young men from lower economic strata. The preference for a male child clear in sex selection has led to dramatic shifts in the proportion of men and women.
As per the reports, this demographic imbalance will impact our marriage system poorly. There will be a time when grooms will delay or forego their marriage as will not be able to find a spouse.
Also, child marriages will play a huge part as it would be difficult to find a girl in the future. Few studies suggest that the marriage squeeze will peak in India in 2055. The proportion of men who are still single in their 50’s will rise after 2050 in India to 10 percent.
As per UN reports, every year, millions of missing girls globally are put through practices that harm them physically and emotionally. It’s performed with the full knowledge and consent of their families, and communities.
ACCORDING TO UNFPA REPORT, HARMFUL PRACTICES AGAINST GIRLS
As per the UNFPA report, at least 19 harmful practices, from breast ironing to virginity testing, are human rights violations. It focuses on the three most common and widespread ones. Child marriage, Female genital mutilation, and extreme bias against daughters in favor of sons. According to UNFPA Executive Director “These harmful practices against girls cause intense trauma”.
This year, an estimated 4.1 million girls will put through female genital mutilation. 33,000 girls today below 18 will be forced into marriages, usually to much older men. Also, an extreme preference for sons over daughters in few countries. It has fuelled gender-biased sex selection or extreme neglect that leads to their death as children. This resulting in the 142.6 million “missing females.”
Ending female genital mutilation and child marriage worldwide is possible within 10 years. But, by scaling up efforts to keep girls in school longer and teach them life skills. Also, to engage men and boys in social change.
Investments add up to USD 3.4 billion a year through 2030 would end these two harmful practices. Also, end the suffering of an estimated 84 million girls, it said.
A recent analysis revealed that if services and programs remain shuttered for six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An additional 13 million girls may be forced into marriage. And, 2 million more girls may put through female genital mutilation between now and 2030.
“This pandemic makes our job harder and more urgent as so many more girls are now at risk,”.