How one law measurably lifted the status of women in India

    By: Kelsey Vuillemot on Mar 20, 2017

    Priti Kalsi writes, "The impact of female political leaders goes beyond their policies. One way it occurs is through the role model effect: Public exposure to women at the top has been shown to reduce social bias and improve living conditions for women. Studies have shown that female political leadership increases the likelihood that a woman is elected again, that crimes against women are less likely to go unreported, and that parents state higher aspirations for their daughters.

    The improved status of women through female leadership has even been shown to increase the survival of vulnerable girls in societies with a preference for sons. In a forthcoming study in the Journal of Development Economics, I show that exposure to female leadership in rural India is associated with improved survival of high-birth-order girls who would otherwise be more likely to die young.

    The phenomenon of 'missing women' is observed in several Asian countries because female fetuses are either aborted or because female infants die young due to neglect or infanticide. This is largely due to families wishing to secure at least one boy in the family while also striving to ensure that the size of the family doesn’t become too large. In general, the practice does not affect the firstborn because there will be more opportunities to have boys even if a girl arrives first. This is reflected in the second round of the District Level Household & Facility Survey, which covers over 620,000 Indian households and includes detailed information on married women’s fertility history. Among children born between 1987 and 1992 in rural India, there were 106 boys per 100 girls at the first birth order. For the second, that number grew slightly, to 107 boys for every 100 girls. But for the third birth order or greater, the difference jumped to 117 boys per 100 girls. (For comparison, the natural sex ratio at birth is believed to be 105 boys per 100 girls.)"


    Released: March 20, 2017, 7:51 am | Updated: March 20, 2017, 8:10 am
    Keywords: NAWL News

    National Association of Women Lawyers®

    American Bar Center MS 17.1, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654
    T: 312.988.6186   F: 312.932.6450