Clear women’s bill for girls’ sake, Union minister Najma Heptulla says

NEW DELHI: Ahead of the winter session of Parliament, Union minister Najma Heptulla said she would like the women’s reservation bill to be passed in Lok Sabha as it was necessary to provide a “level-playing field” for women. Heptulla’s comments came while launching a report on the status of girls in India, which painted a grim picture of their condition as they continue to face widespread discrimination compared to boys.

Clear women’s bill for girls’ sake, Union minister Najma Heptulla says

Set in the backdrop of the last two decades, the Wings 2014 report by NGO Save the Children looks at how girls have fared on access to healthcare, nutrition, water and sanitation facilities, education and safe spaces and protection from abuse. The findings show that for the girl child, the struggle for survival begins in the womb itself. Even after she is (allowed to be) born, widespread neglect makes her survival precarious. Together, these two factors ensure that we bear the tragic burden of being a nation of disappearing daughters. The census of 2011 shows that overall there are 38 million missing women. The boy-girl divide over the last few decades has widened to such an extent that today, in the age group of 0-6 years, there are 7.1 million fewer girls than boys as against 4.2 million in 1991. The dropout rates at various levels of schooling can be dramatic and telling. For instance, in 2011, the dropout rate at Class 5 for girls was 24.4%, while the dropout rate at Class 8 was 41.3%. Overall, at the secondary level, the attendance rate for girls was 42.3% as against 52.7% for boys.

There has also been a steady increase in the number of dowry-related cases with a 36% increase in reported cases from 2011 to 2012.

The discrimination also extends to health and nutrition. The proportion of male children who are fully immunized is 4% higher than female children. As time passes, nutritional outcomes for both boys and girls in 1-4 years age group seem to decline. However, they decline much faster for girls. By the time girls are 4 years old, they are much more likely than their brothers to be stunted, underweight, and have low mid upper arm circumference (widely considered the best measure of under-nutrition) the report said.

Posted by on November 20, 2014. Filed under Nation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.