Sex Discrimination in India Begins in the Womb: Study
Washington: Women in India are more likely to get prenatal care when pregnant with male babies, according to a ground-breaking study that has implications for girls’ health and survival in patriarchal societies.
The study by Leah Lakdawala of Michigan State University and Prashant Bharadwaj of the University of California, San Diego, suggests sex discrimination begins in the womb in male-dominated societies such as India.
“It paints a pretty dire picture of what’s happening,” said Lakdawala, MSU Assistant Professor of Economics.
In India, while it is illegal for a doctor to reveal the sex of an unborn baby or for a woman to have an abortion based on the baby’s sex, both practises are common, Lakdawala said.
However, knowing the sex of the baby through an ultra-sound also can lead to discrimination for those pregnancies that go full-term, she said in a statement.
In studying the national health-survey data of more than 30,000 Indians, the researchers found that women pregnant with boys were more likely to go to prenatal medical appointments, take iron supplements, deliver the baby in a health-care facility — as opposed to in the home — and receive tetanus shots.