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J. Krishnamurty

IMPLICATIONS OF A DECLINING SEX RATIO IN INDIA'S POPULATION: PROGRAMME OF WOMEN STUDIES-I; THE STATUS OF WOMEN: LITERACY AND EMPLOYMENT: PROGRAMME OF WOMEN STUDIES-II
By Ashok Mitra
Allied Publishers, New Delhi, 1979, pp. vii 85 & pp. 74, Rs. 25.00 & Rs. 20.00

THE STATUS OF WOMEN: HOUSEHOLD AND NON-HOUSEHOLD ECONOMIC ACTIVITY: PROGRAMME OF WOMEN STUDIES-III
By Ashok Mitra , Adhir K. Srimany and Lalit P. Pathak
Allied Publishers, New Delhi, 1979, pp. 78, Rs. 20.00

VOLUME IV NUMBER 5-6 March-April/May-June 1980

The declining sex ratio and the status of women in India are questions which should concern specialists and non-special­ists alike. The Women's Studies Program­me of the ICSSR has' taken up and funded a number of studies on women, but to inform the general reading public they have issued a number of pamphlets high­lighting the main issues. The first pamphlet by Ashok Mitra discusses the declining sex ratio in India. The basic facts are clear and have been discussed extensively in the professional literature. The sex ratio for India (females per thousand males) has been going down ever since 1871-72 when the first all-India Census was conducted. Both male and female death rates declined from about 53 per thousand in 1901 to 20.5 per thousand for males and 23.4 per thousand for females in 1971. But over this period for the age-group 0-5 male mortality rates which were higher than for females upto about 1931, became lower than for females after 1931. Also for the 1951­-1971 period Mitra shows that age-specific mortality rates for the ages 15 to 45 are higher for females than for, males; unfor­tunately, the all-India figures for the pre­-1951 period for this age group are not provided. The neglect of girl children and the mortality risks associated with child­bearing are still operating in India and Mitra discusses this in some detail using available data. Widespread anemia among pregnant women, excessive child bearing, insanitary conditions, neglect of girls and economic pressures are explanations pro­vided by Mitra for the declining sex ratio. He dismisses the view that there are in­trinsic differences between India and other countries in the biology of reproduction, i.e., that perhaps more male children are born in India per thousand female child­ren compared to other parts of the world. The arguments do demonstrate the un­favourable environment for females, but what has to be shown is that it is diffe­rentially unfavourable over time for women compared to men. The decline of purdah and some improvements in social health must have benefited women, but appa­rently the latter has benefited men more. Also the view that women earlier had less domestic strain as family workers than they now have as underpaid wage employees needs documentation before it can be accepted. In the second pamphlet Mitra discus­ses literacy and employment in relation to the status of women and in the third pamphlet household and non-household ...


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