Talk on “Sex ratio trends in Census 2011″.

Prof. Ravinder Kaur addressing whole audience.

Prof. Ravinder Kaur enlightened the audience at Seva Mandir with a talk on the crucial issue “Sex ratio trends in Census 2011”on November 22, 2011. She explained “Sex ratio is an indicator of gender equality where normal sex ratio stands for 950 girls for every 1000 boys but the girl child sex ratio stood on 914 in census 2011”.
She elaborated reasons, facts and figures behind the declining sex ratio. One main reason which came out of her discussion was sex determination and selective abortion of female foetus.  A study done by LANCET puts the number at around 12.1 million for selective abortions which took place between 1980 to 2010. The discussion was complied on the issue of  not wanting a daughter because of her low economic value as compared to a son in our society. The audience too shared their life experiences of facing differences between a male and a female child.

Due to increase in violence against women, availability of means to determine sex of the foetus, the status of girl’s education,  prevalence to career etc are some of the reasons that contribute towards poor sex ratios.  Though there are laws and policies to protect girl children, the presence of the stereotypes in our society ensures that a girl stands nowhere when compared to a boy.
She further added that despite there are improvements in some northern states of India (like Punjab Haryana, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh etc.) the decline in child sex ratio stands 26 points for Rajasthan in 2010-2011. Apart from Banswara, Bhilwara, Dungarpur, and Udaipur where the child sex ratio is 915-920, all other districts are miserably between 830 and 903.
The talk was very useful in bringing the perspective together for all the participants.  Everyone felt to do more efforts in sensitizing everyone about the issue by spreading more awareness and organizing more gender trainings. The participants discussed the steps ahead. Ms. Pamela Philipose (a veteran journalist and feminist) and Prof. Ravinder Kaur suggested to record experiences and observations from Seva Mandir field staff on the issue. They suggested to a) break the stereotypes of symbolic behavior and attitude towards a girl child and b) organizations like Seva Mandir to sensitize people by focusing more on the issue.

Chief Executive Ms. Priyanka Singh also shared her concerns. She said it is unfortunate that people not only go for selective abortions but also kill a girl child after her birth.  She also added,that expectations are high from civil society organization such as ours. The organizations also find it very challenging because the people working in organizations also come from the same society. Therefore, it is very significant that everyone works on this issue collectively. She thanked everyone for participating in the discussion and talking so openly about the issue.