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India Records More Women Than Men, For The First Time Ever!

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On Wednesday, the report released by the Union health ministry has some good news for us Indian women. As per the fifth round of the National Family and Health Survey (NFHS), India now has more women than men, for the very first time. There are 1,020 women for every 1,000 men according to the report. Now more women, more power!

According to NFHS-3, conducted in 2005-06, the ratio was equal, 1000: 1000; it went down to 991:1000 in 2015-16 in NFHS-4. This is the first time, in any NFHS or Census, that the sex ratio is skewed in favour of women. There were 927 women per 1,000 men in India when Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen coined the term “missing women” in 1990 because of the huge gap in the number of men and women, now the tables have turned and indicate that the numbers are improving.

“The improved sex ratio and sex ratio at birth is also a significant achievement; even though the real picture will emerge from the census, we can say for now looking at the results that our measures for women empowerment have steered us in the right direction ,” said Vikas Sheel, additional secretary, Union ministry of health and family welfare and mission director, National Health Mission, as reported by the Hindustan Times.

To be more specific, the gender ratio at birth for children born in the last five years is still 929, which suggests that son-preference still persists, Yikes! But the sex ratio is a significant milestone. This achievement was possible by the policies aimed to curb sex selection practices that were once rampant and female infanticide, and on the fact that females in India tend to live longer than men. One more good news, I guess!

The average life expectancy at birth for men and women was 66.4 years and 69.6 years respectively in 2010-14, according to data from the Census of India website.

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The government on Wednesday also released the factsheets of key indicators on population, reproductive and child health, family welfare, nutrition and others for India as well as 14 states and Union Territories, clubbed under phase two, of the 2019-21 NFHS-5.

The states and Union Territories which were surveyed in this phase were Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, NCT of Delhi, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, a Health Ministry statement said. The government is yet to release the full database of NFHS-5.

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