Gender discrimination kills 239000 girls each year in India: Lancet study

May 15, 2018 20:39 IST
Gender discrimination kills 239000 girls each year in India: Lancet study

Around 239000 girls under the age of five die each year in India due to gender discrimination, as per the Lancet Global Health journal that was released on May 14, 2018.

These deaths amount to about 2.4 million deaths in a decade, however, this number does not include pre-natal mortality rates. According to the study, 29 out of Indian 35 States and UTs contributed to the death of these girls. Moreover, additional deaths were found in 90 percent of districts in the country.

Points to Remember

  • The report is the first to examine the number of avoidable deaths among girls under the age of five in India at a district level, showing avoidable female mortality across India's 640 districts.
  • The researchers utilised the UN population data from 46 countries to calculate the difference between the expected morality rate of girls under the age of five in countries without gender discrimination and the reality inside India.
  • Avoidable mortality is defined as the difference between observed and expected mortality rates.

Highlights of the study

• The average level of avoidable mortality in 0-4 years age of girls in India was 18.5 per 1000 live births between 2000-2005.

 Gender discrimination

Reality Check

• This problem was most prominent in northern India, where the four largest states Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh accounted for two-thirds of the total avoidable deaths of infant girls under the age of five.

• The worst affected areas were typically in rural regions, having low levels of education, high population densities and high birth rates.

Gender bias

Gender equality

Gender bias towards girls doesn't simply prevent them from being born; it also leads to the death of those who are born.

Gender equality is not only about rights to education, employment or political representation. It is also about care, vaccination, and nutrition of girls, and ultimately survival.


• The findings press for the need of addressing the issue of gender discrimination in addition besides encouraging social and economic development.

• Many of the deaths of girl child are partly due to unwanted female child attitude in a society that has a preference for sons.

• A preference for boys and the availability of sex-selective operations, although illegal in India, has led to gender gap of as many as 63 million girls, showcasing India as a country with one of the most distorted sex ratios in the world.

• For every 107 males born in India, there are 100 females.


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