The World’s Women 2015 report claims that the country with
the lowest sex ratio in under-5 mortality is India, with a ratio of 93 (93 boys
die before age 5 for 100 girls that die by that age). This is also the only
country with an under-5 mortality sex ratio under 100 (more girls die than
boys). India alone accounted for 21 per cent of all under-5 deaths in 2013.

In the report’s analysis, higher mortality among girls can be
closely related to a general preference for sons in India, which is expressed in
special treatment for boys in terms of parental investment in nutrition,
vaccinations, access to health treatment, and parental care in general.

The report further states that India is among the countries
with the largest surplus of men, noting that while sex-selective abortions have
been technically illegal since 1996, the law has had ‘little effect so far on
the sex ratio at birth’. In absolute terms, countries with the largest surplus
of men are China (52 million) in Eastern Asia and India (43 million) in
Southern Asia.

The report’s findings become glaring in view of the fact
that globally the number of children dying before their fifth birthday
decreased from 12.7 million in 1990 to around 6 million in 2015. Between 1990
and 2015, the mortality rate for children under 5 years old dropped by more
than half – from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births to 43 in 2015.

The World’s Women 2015 is the sixth in the series and comprises
eight chapters: population and families, health, education, work, power and
decision-making, violence against women, environment, and poverty.