Gender disparity in South Asia : comparisons between and within countries
Using data assembled from the Demographic Health Surveys of over 50 countries and from the National Family Health Surveys of individual states in India, the authors create a new data set of comparable indicators of gender disparity. They establish three findings: 1) As is by now well-known, the level of gender disparities in health and education outcomes for girls in South Asia is the highest in the world. 2) Even within South Asia, and within India or Pakistan, there are huge variations in gender disparity. Differences in gender disparity among Indian states or among provinces in Pakistan are typically greater than those among the world's nations. The ratio of female to male child mortality in one Indian state (Haryana) is worse than in any country in the world, although in another state (Tamil Nadu) it is lower than in all but three countries. 3) Across and within the set of developing nations, gender disparity is not only a phenomenon of poverty. There is almost no correlation between per capita income and the gender disparities in health and education outcomes. So although absolute levels of health and education outcomes for girls are strongly related to economic conditions, the disparities between outcomes for girls and boys are not. Understanding what causes such great gender disparity within South Asia is the next pressing question for researchers.
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