Gujarat no cradle for girls; Parents prefer boys: Report

Ahmedabad: In Gujarat, there is a strong preference for sons, reports the National Family Health Survey IV, 2016. The survey reveals that women in the state show greater eagerness to have sons than daughters. Among women with two children, 92 per cent with two sons and 88 per cent with one son want no more children.
However, only 54% of women with two daughters were not eager to go in for third child in want of a son. Officials said that this means that 46 per cent of the women would want to have a third child hoping it to be a baby boy.
The survey reveals that overall, around 12 per cent of women and 15 per cent of men want more sons than daughters, but only 2-3 per cent of women and men want more daughters than sons.
Majority of the families in the survey stated that they would like to have at least one son and at least one daughter.
The survey further noted that in Gujarat, unplanned pregnancies are relatively common. If all women were to have only the number of children they wanted, the total fertility rate would have been considerably below replacement level, at 1.5 children per woman, instead of the current level of 2.0 children per woman.
Interestingly, the recently released figures of sex ratio at birth revealed that the figure for girls in Gujarat — which attained national infamy for its skewed child sex ratio (CSR) of 886 girls per 1,000 boys in Census 2001 — continued to be poor. The 2017 figures reveal that the sex ratio at birth (SRB) has further declined and is now 842, from 848 in 2016.
The state has again come under the scanner for its alarming fall of 69 points in the SRB between years 2011 and 2017. This is the highest fall in average SRB recorded for any state in the country. In 2011, the SRB was 911 girls per 1,000 boys which registered a fall to 842 girls per 1,000 boys in 2017.
Even Jayanti Ravi, principal secretary, health and family welfare, while releasing the data on the eve of International Women’s Day advised families to adopt family planning after they have one or two sons.
Moreover, the 46 percent families who want a third child after two daughters, show parents are not happy with daughters.
The government has not launched any major drive for saving the girl child in the state in the recent past. “I don’t see advertisements behind the buses or even hoardings which warn people against sex determination tests,” Jani said.

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