A UN report reveals that India is among the countries with the largest surplus of men and a worrying under-five sex ratio with more girls dying before the age of five than boys.
In absolute terms, countries with the largest surplus of men are China (52 million), in Eastern Asia, and India (43 million), in Southern Asia. The ratio of men to women and the surplus of men in these two most populous countries largely determine the surplus of men observed at the global level, the report said.
India has the lowest sex ratio in under-5 mortality, with a ratio of 93 (93 boys die before age 5 for 100 girls that die by that age). "This is also the only country with an under-5 mortality sex ratio under 100 (more girls die than boys)," it said.
Although sex-selective abortions have been illegal in India since 1996, the law has had "little effect so far on the sex ratio at birth", the report noted.
India alone accounted for 21 percent of all under-5 deaths in 2013 and this low sex ratio in under-5 mortality is pulling down the average for Southern Asia as a whole and the entire world.
"Higher mortality among girls can be closely related to a general preference for sons in India, which is expressed in special treatment for boys in terms of parental investment in nutrition, vaccinations, access to health treatment and parental care in general," the report said.
Regarding employment, estimates reveal that globally only 50 percent of women of working age are in the labour force, compared to 77 percent of men. This gender gap in labour force participation remains especially large in South and West Asia and North Africa.