In a country like ours where we talk about women empowerment, women’s rights and gender equality, the crime rate against women (of all ages), discrimination at work place and domestic violence is rampant. And we aren’t unknown to these harsh realities. Where there are government schemes introduced to uplift a girl’s life, torture and torment is afflicted every day. Here are few facts about the status of girl child that you should be aware of.
According to the 2011 census the sex ratio of female to male child rose to 944 females to per 1000 males as compared to 934 females to per 1000 males in 2001 census. A marginal increase, but still better. However, in states like Delhi, Gujarat, Punjab the ratio still remains unimpressive. Recently, the sex ratio in Haryana crossed the 900+ mark.
Even after Pre- Conception and Pre- Natal Diagonostic Technique (Prohibition of sex selection) Act came into force in 2003, which prohibits sex selection before or after conception, activists believe that around eight million female foetuses were destroyed between 2001 and 2011. According to Save The Girl Child organisation, one out of six girl child dies due to gender discrimination.
A Report by India’s registrar general and census commissioner, the Ministry of Health and family welfare and the United Nations Population Fund, points out, based on the 2001 census, that in the 0-6 age group, the most prosperous states of India like Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat have the lowest sex ratio.
According to Save The Girl Child organisation, out of the 12 million girls born in India, 1 million die before the first year of life and one in every two girls in India is malnourished.
Sex ratio in India is defined as the number of female children per 1000 male children, whereas internationally it is defined as number of male children per 100 female children.
It comes as a shock to know that in some rural pockets of India, a Devdasi system is still prevalent where girl child is offered or married to a deity or temple and later forced into prostitution, according to a report in National Commission for Women, 2006. The authority says there are 2.5 lakh ‘Devadasi’ girls who have been dedicated to Yellamma and Khandoba temples on Maharastra-Karnataka border.
The need of the hour is better education and health care facilities for the girl child. Female literacy rate is still 53.87% and one third of the young girls are malnourished. Women in reproductive age group are either anaemic because of restricted health care services or suffer from other communicable diseases.
While child sex abuse happens to both male and female children, one out of 10 females in India suffer child sex abuse
According to UNICEF, India has the highest number of child brides in the world. It is estimated that 47 percent of girls in India are married before they turn 18. These incidences are more prominent in rural Indian than urban India.
The government has introduced a lot of cash initiative schemes for girls like Dhan Laxmi scheme and the Apni beti apna dhun programme, adolescents’ empowerment programmes Kishori Shakti Yojana to induce behaviour change towards how people perceive a girl child. Recently the Sukanya Samridhi Scheme was introduce to help people safe enough for a girl child’s education and marriage.