Sunday, June 07, 2009

How did 100,000,000 women disappear?

Toronto Star: Two researchers crunching population statistics have confirmed an unsettling reality. Siwan Anderson and Debraj Ray noticed the ratio of women to men in developing regions and in some cultures is suspiciously below the norm
Jun 06, 2009 04:30 AM
NICOLE BAUTE
STAFF REPORTER
In India, China and sub-Saharan Africa, millions upon millions of women are missing. They are not lost, but dead: victims of violence, discrimination and neglect.
A University of British Columbia economist is amongst those trying to find them – not the women themselves, who are long gone, but their numbers and ages, which paint a sad and startling picture of gender discrimination in the developing world.
The term "missing women" was coined in 1990, when Indian economist Amartya Sen calculated a shocking figure. In parts of Asia and Africa, he wrote in The New York Review of Books, 100 million women who should be alive are not, because of unequal access to medical care, food and social services. These are excess deaths: women "missing" above and beyond natural mortality rates, compared to their male counterparts.
Women who are dead because their lives were undervalued.
Around the world boys outnumber girls at birth, but in countries where women and men receive equal care, women have proved hardier and more resistant to disease, and thus live longer. In most of Asia and North Africa, however, Sen found that women die with startlingly higher frequency.
His research began a flutter of activity in academic circles and by 2005, the United Nations produced a much higher estimate for how many women could be "missing": 200 million.
From her office at the University of British Columbia, economics professor Siwan Anderson has been crunching numbers to try and understand why so many women are dying. "If you're interested in gender discrimination, it's really one of the starkest measures of discrimination, because it's women who should be alive, but aren't," she says."

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