Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

More Than 100 Million Women Are Missing

December 20, 1990

Published in the New York Review of Books, “More Than 100 Million Women Are Missing” by the Indian economist and Novel Laureate Amartya Sen discusses gender ratios worldwide and in less developed regions comparatively. He points out that internationally there are approximately 105-106 boy children to every 100 girls; in India this ratio drops as low as 100 boys to 86 girls. Families often view female children as burdensome and undesirable. Gender-related abortion, feticide, infanticide, and disregard for the health and well-being of girls are widespread; however, Sen notes how this gap cannot be adequately described by economic analysis due to variation in the correlation between economic development and the gender gap. Some of the most economically advanced regions in India have greater inequality than less lucrative regions. According to Sen, religious and cultural norms are deeply-rooted factors in the gender gap.

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