Accepted paper:

Declining sex ratio in India: changing the trend through the 'He and She' approach at the grassroots?


Susannah Pickering-Saqqa (University of East London)
Kathryn Kraft (University of East London)
Meera Tiwari (University of East London)

Paper short abstract:

The Indian Census 2001-2011 show a decrease in the sex ratio. Approximately 12 million girls were lost, largely due to sex selective abortions, infanticide and other forms of neglect. This paper explores the 'He and She' approach adopted by an organisation in Haryana to halt the sex ratio decline.

Paper long abstract:

The 2011 Indian Census showed the child (0-6 years) sex ratio to be 918 girls to 1000 boys, representing a decrease from 927 in 2001. The estimate, therefore, is that approximately 12 million girls were lost, largely due to sex selective abortions, female infanticide, and other forms of neglect. Macro level interventions include the PC-PNDT Act, national campaign to empower women and the anti-dowry act since 1961. Financial burdens of dowry are seen as key drivers for foeticide. Within these three broad intervention streams there is a network of vibrant think tanks and civil society organisations that continue in their tireless efforts. The declining sex ratio though remains tenacious. 'Save the Girl Child' project run by Child Reach India (CRI) was launched in 2012 to combat this trend in Hissar, Haryana, the state with the country's lowest sex ratio, 834 in the 2011 census. CRI focuses on empowering the declining half and creating a conducive social environment. The aim is to increase the value placed upon girls and women in the community. It does so through a 'saturation approach', which considers all members of the community as stakeholders - adolescent girls and boys, mothers, mothers-in-law, young and elderly men. This 'He and She' model is insightful given the deep-rooted intergenerational prevalence of male child preference in the Indian society. Additionally, it offers new dimensions to the newly emerging literature on the UN's 'HeForShe' campaign. This paper is based on the evaluation of the project that took place during 2015.

panel E09
Gender Inequalities in South Asia