KATHMANDU, Nov 29: Though the female population in the country is higher than the male population by 0.7 million, according to the latest census, new births recorded between 2001 to 2011 shows preference for the male child is still high among a majority of Nepalis.
Of the total population of 6,584,516 people in the 0-10 year age group, 3,368,125 are boys and 3,216,391 girls. This shows the girl population is 2.3 percent less than boys in the age group.
The report has revealed that intellectuals prefer male child even more than the rural people. Girls´ population in the urban area is 5.7 percent less compared to the boy´s population in the same age group. There are 407,984 girls and 457,346 boys in the age group in the urban areas.
However, the scenario is a little different in the rural areas where female population in this age group is 1.79 percent higher.
Census expert Padma Prasad Khatiwada said that the report has shown that legalization of abortion has encouraged selective abortion. In 2002, parliament had legalized abortion to ensure safe motherhood and women´s rights.
“The boys´ population is high in urban areas where the literacy rate is above 85 percent. This makes it clear that educated couples tend to abort their female child,” said Khatiwada. This scenario is a threat to Nepal,” he added, “In some states of India the sex ratio has been recorded at 700 women for 1000 men. Our country would share a similar fate if the government does not come up with concrete measures to discourage selective abortion.”
The first government abortion service officially began in March 2004 at the Maternity Hospital in Kathmandu and the services were gradually expanded to other public and private hospitals across the country.
The 2001 census had shown that the female population in the 0-10 year age group was 72,000 higher than the male population.