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Amartya Sen's 100 Million Missing Women

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Amartya Sen has claimed that women were "missing" in millions from the population totals of Asian countries, in particular. On the basis of various assumptions he calculated that excessive female mortality accounted for a 6–11% deficiency in the total number of women, thus revealing what he called a "terrible story of inequality and neglect". The aim of this paper, written over 10 years later, is to examine the latest trends of female birth and survival in South and East Asia, consider the influences on the situation of economic and cultural factors and to appraise policies aiming to counter excess female mortality. It is suggested that major problems still remain amid what amounts to continent-wide denial by governments, donors, communities and families of excessive female mortality, discrimination and disadvantage.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2001

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