Asia-Pacific Region Ranks Almost Worst in Gender Gap: UNDP Report

The United Nations estimate on Monday has revealed that Asia is ‘missing’ nearly 85 million women, who either died due to biased health care and neglect or who were never born at all, reported AFP.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) found in a major report on gender equality that the male-female sex ratio at birth is highest in Asia with 119 boys for every 100 girls, report said.

The global average for male-female ratio is 107 boys to 100 girls.

“Females cannot take survival for granted,” the report said. “Sex-selective abortion, infanticide, and death from health and nutritional neglect in Asia have left 96 million missing women … and the numbers seem to be increasing in absolute terms,” it added.

Birth gender disparities in China and India distorted the regional figure as the two countries account for almost 42.6 million of the report’s ‘missing’ figure, report said.

The report said that millions of women in Asia were kept out from the benefits of greater prosperity.

The UNDP found that the region, in particular South Asia, ranks near the worst in the world with regard to basic issues such as protecting women from violence, as well as access to health, education, employment and political participation.

“Today, the Asia-Pacific region is at a crossroads,” the report said. “Whether gender equality is pushed aside or pursued with greater energy amid the economic downturn depends on actions taken or not taken now by governments.”

The report stressed that there was need to enhance women’s rights in three key areas: economic power, political participation, and legal protection, said report.

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