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Female population in Asia-Pacific region lowest in India

Last updated: 08 March, 2010
New Delhi, Mar 8 (PTI) 14:21 IST

India has the lowest percentage of female population in the Asia-Pacific region ranking lower than Pakistan, Maldives and Bangladesh despite having the highest sex ratio at birth compared to these countries, a new study shows.

Women are seen traveling in a local train in Mumbai, India on Monday, March 8, 2010. APAccording to the report 'Power, Voice and Rights' by the UNDP, while India had 48.2 per cent female population at birth, Pakistan had 48.5, Bangladesh had 48.8 and Japan 51.1 per cent.

The sex ratio at birth in India was 1.08. The comparative figure was 1.05 for Pakistan, 1.04 for Bangladesh and 1.05 for Nepal.India also has 42.7 million women who were missing in the year 2007 and the mean age at marriage is 20 for women and 25 for men.

Pakistan has just 6.1 million women missing and Bangladesh 3.2 million.
India's infant mortality rate has declined from 83 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 57 per 1,000 in 2006.The country has 0.3 per cent of its people in the age group of 15-49 vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. The corresponding figure for Pakistan is 0.1 and and Bangladesh 0.5.

Releasing the report here today, Helen Clarke, former New Zealand Prime Minister and Administrator UNDP said, "The report again shows that six out of ten of the world's poorest people are women. Women are still subject to violence".

Regarding India, she said that the country presents a mixed picture. While the government shows exceptional commitment to the cause of women's development, the situation on the ground is quite different.

Clarke said, "Across Asia, many women and children experience family violence of some kind. Such violence undermines development and generates instability. It will not be eradicated until all of us, including men and boys refuse to tolerate it".
The prevalence of domestic violence against women by their male partners remains high in Asia-Pacific region, she said.

Throwing up major inequalities in sectoral share of employment, the study shows that women in India have 65 per cent agricultural jobs but control only seven per cent of the farmlands.The report suggests giving same name and inheritance rights to women as men besides more political empowerment.

According to Planning Commission Member Sayeeda Hameed, who accepted the report on the behalf of the Indian government, the real challenge was to change the male mindset

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