Bittersweet: Indian Girls Progress despite Continued Sex Imbalances in Mortality

Kiersten Johnson, Macro International Inc.
Maitreyi B. Das, World Bank Group

India has been experiencing notable economic growth and development over the course of the past decade; indicators of women’s empowerment have also steadily improved. But to what degree have the benefits of India’s impressive development been bittersweet for women and girls? Using data from the three rounds of the India NFHS, this paper explores the trends in indicators of women’s status, both those that indicate improvement over time, and those that indicate that gender-based discrimination continues to result in disproportionate mortality for girls as compared to boys. Our descriptive analysis finds that on most measures of women’s autonomy that are available in all three surveys, the lot of girls and women in India has improved steadily over the past fifteen years; however, we also find that the use of ultrasound during pregnancy, while declining over time, still may be associated with excess female mortality prior to birth.

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Presented in Poster Session 4