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Vincent expounds on future implications of imbalance sex ratio

Kohima, February 11: Family Planning Association of India (FPAI), Nagaland branch manager Vincent Belho said that for multiple reasons, India’s experience is crucial to understanding the current increase in the proportion of males versus females in populations across Asia.
Speaking at the workshop on “Rights of the girl child & future implications of imbalanced sex ratio” here yesterday under the aegis of Nagaland State Social Welfare Board (NSSWB), Kohima, Belho said the rising sex ratios in India have been recorded since the early 1980s, and have since continued increasing with no sign, so far, of reversing course.
“The impact of this early rise is already visible among the adult population of several Indian districts. Even if sex-ratio values in India are still beneath those of China, its potential contribution to the overall “masculinization” of Asia (and, consequently, of the world’s population) is particularly formidable in view of India’s demographic weight,” the branch manager said.
He said the prospect of further worsening of India’s sex composition requires close monitoring of current sex-ratio trends in the country. The Indian scenario of female discrimination is extremely complex in view of India’s social and economic diversity: the interplay of cultural and economic factors, along with the impact of policy initiatives, has produced a heterogeneous situation; in turn, this complexity offers ways to better understand the mechanisms at work, and to inform the policy debate on the struggle against gender discrimination.
He stated that the sex ratio for the entire world population is 101 males to 100 females. Gender imbalance may arise as a consequence of various factors ranging from natural factors and war casualties to intentional gender control and deliberate gendercide.

Factors affecting sex ratio in humans
Natural Factor: These studies suggest that the human sex ratio, both at birth and as a population matures, can vary significantly according to a large number of factors, such as paternal age, maternal age, plural birth, birth order, gestation weeks, race, parent's health history, parent's psychological stress. Remarkably, the trends in human sex ratio are not consistent across countries at a given time, or over time for a given country.
Environmental factors - Effects of climate change: Causes of stress during gestation, such as maternal malnutrition generally appear to increase fetal deaths particularly among males, resulting in a lower boy to girl ratio at birth. Also, higher incidence of Hepatitis B virus in populations is believed to decrease the male to female sex ratio, while some unexplained environmental health hazards are thought to have the opposite effect. The effects of gestational environment on human sex ratio are complicated and unclear, with numerous conflicting reports.
Effects of chemical pollution: A 2007 survey by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program noted abnormally low sex ratios in Russian Arctic villages, Greenland and Canada, and attributed this imbalance to high levels of endocrine disruptors in the blood of inhabitants, including PCBs and DDT. These chemicals are believed to have accumulated in the tissues of fish and animals that make up the bulk of these populations' diets.

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