Census shocker: Sikhs report lowest sex ratio

NEW DELHI: Religion-based census data released yesterday has revealed the status of gender balance in various communities placing Sikhs at the bottom of the table.

editorial@tribune.com

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26

Religion-based census data released yesterday has revealed the status of gender balance in various communities placing Sikhs at the bottom of the table.

In repetition of earlier trends, the Sikhs, as a religious group, have posted the lowest sex ratio indicating a preference for boys and lack of freedom for women to give birth to girls.

After every 1,000 males, Sikhs have only 903 women, the lowest for all religious outfits. Hindus are the next worst on sex ratios with 939 females for every 1,000 males; Jains with 940; Muslims with 951 and Buddhists with 965. Christians with 1,023 women for every 1,000 men have the best sex ratio, a crucial indicator of women’s empowerment. Sex ratio for the country is 943 with Sikhs and Hindus being the only religious groups posting lower sex ratios than the national average.

Sex ratios at birth for religious groups are a harbinger of another vital set of statistics – child sex ratios at birth with population experts saying they won’t be surprised if child sex ratios follow similar patterns as overall sex ratios for religions.

“A low sex ratio among Sikhs indicates rampant use of sex selection techniques and an unequal status of women vis-a-vis men. We would not be surprised if the Sikhs post the lowest child sex ratios at birth. Past trends for Sikhs as a group were similar,” AR Nanda, former chief of Population Foundation of India, told The Tribune today.

The data on sex ratios at birth (0 to 6 years) by religion are yet to be released by the Registrar General of India.

One heartening takeaway from yesterday’s data is – sex ratio for all religious communities improved between 2001 and 2011.

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