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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 29-37

Does gender discrimination transformed its face over few generations? exploring gender inequalities among under-6 year children in rural Haryana

1 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India
2 Centre for Community Medicine, All Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Kalaiselvi Selvaraj
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry - 605 006
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-9962.200089

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Background: Gender differences can be in any stage in the life cycle including before birth (feticide/sex selective abortions) which have been objectively documented. This study tries to identify the gender differentials among the children which is a basic step in cascade process of female discrimination in the society. Objective: To study the gender differentials among children under 6 years in households of rural Ballabgarh, Haryana in terms of nutrition, health care seeking, social aspects and to see whether they differ by socio economic status. Methods: Two hundred households were selected purposively from four villages (50 households each) by multi stage sampling during Mar – June 2010. Pre tested interview schedule was used to assess gender differences in nutrition (breast feeding, 'z' score); in health care seeking and in social aspects (Expenditure on birth related ceremonies and toys and dresses). Differences are measured in means or proportions. Determinants of Gender differentials were identified by logistic regression. Results: Girls were breast fed for five months lesser than boys (P < 0.02). Even though occurrences of common childhood illnesses were equal between the two, expenditures incurred to treat these illnesses were more among the boys (Boys Vs girls: Rs 181.3 Vs Rs 123.9). Proportion of illnesses treated from health facilities located outside the villages was higher among the boys [boys (22.2%), girls (11.4%)]. Expenditures incurred during birth related social ceremonies were higher for boys (Rs 20311 and Rs 2487.5 respectively for boys and girls). Conclusion: In this patriarchal society, socio cultural norms have produced the gender gap which can have adverse impact on health of the female children.

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