//Muslims' sex ratio above average

Muslims' sex ratio above average

Himanshi Dhawan

2 Dec, 2006 TIMES NEWS NETWORK

NEW DELHI: Are young Muslim girls better looked after than female children from other communities? Data sourced from the Sachar report indicates that despite being educationally and economically backward, Muslims have a better sex ratio than the national average.

According to Census 2001, Muslims between age of 0-6 years have a ratio of 950 females to 1,000 males, while the all-India average is 927.

Most populations in the world have more women than men. But India and some South Asian and East Asian countries differ. Female mortality is higher in these nations.

This has resulted in there being more men than women in India and the sex ratio (females per thousand males) is lower than 1,000.

While the all-India average female-male ratio is 933 for every 1,000 men in 2001, the Muslim population scores marginally better with 936 females for 1,000 males.

An associated indicator, which exhibits relative social position in India is the child sex ratio (the number of female children under five for every 1,000 males children under five).

The National Family Health Survey data indicates that Muslims have the highest child sex ratio of any social group in the country.

The sex ratio among Muslims was 986 girls per 1,000 boys in the age group 0-5 years in 1998-99, significantly higher than the ratio of 931 among SCs/STs, 914 among Hindus and 859 among other groups.

In addition to having a child sex ratio less than 1,000, India is one of the few countries where this ratio has been declining steadily.

It has declined from 976 in 1961 to 927 in 2001. The falling child sex ratio is the result of two factors: high female infant mortality (relative to male infant mortality) and female foeticide.

Both in turn reflect parental and social discrimination against girls and has been recognised essentially as an
attitudinal problem.

Experts cite societal pressure and dowry demands as the reason for this menace rather than lack of education or awareness.