India accounts for 45.8 million of the world’s 142.6 million “missing females” over the past 50 years, a report by the United Nations said on Tuesday, noting that the country along with China form the majority of such women globally.
The State of World Population 2020 report released on Tuesday by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the world organisation’s sexual and reproductive health agency, said that the number of missing women has more than doubled over the past 50 years — from 61 million in 1970 to a cumulative 142.6 million in 2020.
Of this global figure, India accounted for 45.8 million missing females as of 2020 and China accounted for 72.3 million.
Missing females are women missing from the population at given dates due to the cumulative effect of postnatal and prenatal sex selection in the past, the agency said.
According to their analysis, India has the highest rate of excess female deaths, 13.5 per 1,000 female births, which suggests that an estimated one in nine deaths of females below the age of 5 may be attributed to postnatal sex selection.
The report notes that governments have also taken action to address the root causes of sex selection. India and Vietnam have included campaigns that target gender stereotypes to change attitudes and open the door to new norms and behaviours.
They spotlight the importance of daughters and highlight how girls and women have changed society for the better. Campaigns that celebrate women’s progress and achievements may resonate more where daughter-only families can be shown to be prospering, it said.