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Women, Missing

The term missing women was coined by economist Amartya Sen in the early 1990s and referred to a phenomenon of suspiciously low numbers of women in comparison to men in many parts of the developing world, especially in south Asia, China, north Africa, and the Middle East. This concept was later developed further by Sen as well as other writers to draw attention to the fact that close to 100 million women are missing in these regions. The fact that there are far fewer women than there would have been if the sexes had been treated equally led Sen to focus first on higher female mortality after birth and then on sexual bias in birthrates and sex-selective abortions.

In a 1992 article, Sen showed that everywhere ...

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