More efforts must be made to collect data that can fill the gaps in statistics as it can help policymakers in framing better policies, said Arun Rao, Professor, Department of Statistics, Mangalore University. He was speaking as chief guest at a function to mark the National Statistical Day in the District Statistical Office in the city on Wednesday.

Mr.Rao gave examples of issues in the field of health, education and local self government, where more data is required to understand them better.In the field of education, he said that the practice in semi urban and rural areas of sending the son to an English medium school and the daughter to a Kannada medium school showed a gender bias . While he was not in favour of either Kannada or English medium, he said he was raising the question: "Why should English medium education be for sons only and not for daughters?"

Continuing with the examples, he said that in the SSLC exams, girls outnumber boys in performance. But know how many of those boys and girls join PUC? "That data is missing," he said.

Another issue worth examining is that in the Common Entrance Test (CET) results, boys outperform girls though in the exams at the PU level, the girls do better. Also, data on how many boys and girls join professional courses is not available.

In the fiel dof health, a small sample survey showed that girl children get less quantity of food than required while the boys get a larger chunk. Female children are undernourished. No data is available on that, he said. There is insufficient data on medical facilities available to women in rural areas, especially to women from the economically and socially backward segment. Occurrence of cervical cancer classified by religion also need more data, he said.

“We are getting reports of cruelty to women but these figures are under-reported. This needs to be set right,” he said. Atrocities against women classified by groups (caste or economic basis), will throw light on women's empowerment. “No demographic details are available. This data is required,” he said.

Similarlly, there is no data available on how many women in panchayats are exercising their powers independently.

Mr. Rao said that the District Statistical Officer could take up the lead by taking up the task of gettingthe missing data. That may return more data on the work done by housewives, which is not economically noted. Also, how much are women involved in decision-making at home on matters such as buying a house or education?

He requested that statistics on men and women should be collected in Dakshina Kannada and in every district as it will help in making policies.EOM

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