"100 MILLION WOMEN ARE MISSING: THE LETHAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE

PREFERENCE FOR SONS"

From Susan Hill Gross, Wasted Resources, Diminished Lives.

Everything being equal: the normal female/male ratio is 105 or 106 women to 100 men.

For every 100 female babies born, about 105 or 106 male babies are born. Although more male babies are born, male infants have a higher mortality rate than females during the first year of life. By the end of the first year the sex ratio (females to males) is generally balanced if nutrition and health care are equal.

However, women generally have a longer life expectancy than men and, therefore, the sex ratio for the general population favors women in countries where the health care is equal. In Europe, North America, and Japan, the ratio of females to males is typically 105 or 106 females for 100 males.

In countries where sons are valued more than daughters, the female ratio is much lower.

In South Asia (India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, particularly), West Asia, and China, the ratio of women to men can be as low as 94 women for 100 men. The female/male ratio varies widely elsewhere in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. This indicates that daughters are subjected either to infanticide or are neglected to death by depriving them of food and medical care.

South Asia

For instance, in some areas of India, the survival rate for boys between ages one and five is significantly higher than the survival rate for girls. Every sixth death of a female infant in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan is due to neglect and discrimination.

Statistics from Bangladesh show that 11% of boys between 12 to 23 months old suffer from acute malnutrition, while 22% of girls of the same age suffer from acute malnutrition.

A study in Bombay found that amniocentesis was used to determine the sex of the fetus. Out of 8,000 abortions performed after amniocentesis, 7,999 were of female fetuses.

Number of females for every 100 males in South Asian Countries.

Sri Lanka 99

Afghanistan 94

Nepal 95

Bhutan 93

Bangladesh 94

India 93

Pakistan 92

The female/male ratio has been declining in India since 1901. The census of 1901 indicated that there were 97 females for every 100 males. The census of 1951 indicated that there were 94 females for every 100 males. The census of 1991 indicated that there were 93 females for every 100 males.

In all countries where there is a very low female to male ratio, there will also be extremely low literacy rates for females.

General statistics for number of females per 100 males.

Europe, North America, Japan 106

North Africa 98

Sub-Saharan Africa 102

Southeast Asia 101

Western Asia 94

Excerpt from UNICEF Pakistan News, May 1990.

A mother and father in Pakistan named their infant daughter Joya because of their happiness at her birth. The mother reported that while she was in the hospital strangers came to peer in at the new mother and baby. When she asked the nurse what they were doing the reply was: "They want to see what is so special about this baby girl at whose birth the family is distributing sweets." Another visitor was more direct asking, "Why are you so happy at the birth of a girl?"

Excert from Manushi, No. 33 (1986): 2-3.

An Indian woman had a similar experience when she and her husband distributed sweets to honor the birth of their baby girl. A few months after the birth, a female relative visiting the young mother remarked, "Nani, could I ever imagine that one day, I too would have children? When, the first two times, I gave birth to stones, I wept day and night, wishing that I had been fortunate enough to have a child." When the young mother expressed her sympathy at such a strange problem, the relative replied angrily: "I had stones just as you had a stone." She was referring to daughters as "stones."