●State of the World Population 2020 report: by UNFPA
•Recently, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has released the State of the World Population 2020 report, titled ‘Against my will: defying the practices that harm women and girls and undermine equality
•It highlights at least 19 human rights violations against women and focuses on the three most prevalent ones, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), extreme bias against daughters, in favour of sons and child marriage.
•The number of missing women has more than doubled over the past 50 years, who were at 61 million in 1970.
•According to estimates averaged over a five year period (2013-17), annually, there were 1.2 million missing female births, at a global level.
•One in three girls missing globally due to sex selection, both pre- and post-natal, is from India, i.e. 46 million out of the total 142 million.
•India (40%) along with China (50%) account for around 90% of the estimated 1.2 million girls lost annually to female foeticide.
•An estimated 4.1 million girls will be subjected to female genital mutilation in 2020.
•An extreme and continuing preference for sons over daughters in some countries has fuelled gender-biased sex selection or extreme neglect which leads to girls’ death as children, resulting in missing females.
•The report examines the issue of missing women by studying sex ratio imbalances at birth as a result of gender-biased sex selection as well as excess female mortality.
•The advent of technology and increased access to ultrasound imaging allow parents to terminate a foetus after knowing its gender.
•Due to this, the number of girls missing due to female foeticide exceed those that are missing because of postnatal sex selection.
•These skewed numbers change the population proportions and result in ‘marriage squeeze’.
•The economic disruptions and income-loss because of the Covid-19 pandemic are likely to increase violence against girls and women due to intensified unwantedness of daughters and gender discrimination.
•The Covid-19 pandemic threatens to reverse the progress made in ending some harmful practices worldwide.
•In India, Covid-19 has reduced access to contraception and abortion services, which is likely to lead to an increase in unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions.
•The report pointed out that successful education-related interventions include the provision of cash transfers conditional on school attendance or support to cover the costs of school fees, books, uniforms and supplies.
•The report took note of the successful cash-transfer initiative such as ‘Apni Beti Apna Dhan’ in India