Dismayed at the Census 2011 figures that highlighted the decline in child sex ratio (0-6 years) to 914 girls for every 1,000 boys as compared to 927 in 2001, over 200 civil society organisations this past week joined hands with the National Foundation for India (NFI) in launching a campaign against the trend.

“We came up with an idea to launch a national-level civil society-led campaign against gender-biased sex selection. It initiated efforts in partnership with civil society organisations across India to build coalitions and networks to broad base the ownership and dialogue around the issue of gender-biased sex selection,” noted an NFI release.

At a two-day national-level consultation, a group of experts ratified the proposed campaign structure which focussed on Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act and patriarchy.

“Strengthening the Act and challenging patriarchy by advocating joint ownership in housing for women besides their safety and security are the themes around which the campaign engaged the public and and sought to build newer coalitions,” noted a NFI member.

Leaders from a range of institutions including the government, UNFPA, Save the Children Fund and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry addressed the consultation and expressed their solidarity with the campaign.

The design of the campaign is a culmination of a year-long process arrived at through various inputs and perspectives of the civil society groups and individuals working on the issue of sex selection. “Prior to this, while several actors including civil society, media, academia, government and coalitions have been working for some time on reversing the trend of declining child sex ratio at local, State and national levels, this campaign is launched to strengthen their efforts further,” noted an NFI release.