infanticide and sex-selective abortion have caused a severe
gender imbalance in
"The old mindset with its preference for male children has now combined with modern medical technology" that makes it easier to predict and abort unborn girls, said Anuradha Rajivan, the report's lead author.
"It is not just female infanticide but sex-selective abortion of unborn girls that cause so-called 'missing' females," she said, contrasting the issue with recent improvements in female life expectancy and education.
report found that
This far exceeded the global world average of 107 boys for every 100 girls.
"Females cannot take survival for granted," it said.
"Sex-selective abortion, infanticide, and death from health and
nutritional neglect in
The regional figure was skewed by enormous birth gender disparities in
The number was calculated from the actual sex ratio in the population compared to what it would theoretically be, if equal treatment were given to the sexes during pregnancy, birth and afterwards.
The region, and especially south Asia, ranks near the worst in the world --
often lower than sub-Saharan
"Today, the Asia-Pacific region is at a crossroads," the report said. "Whether gender equality is pushed aside or pursued with greater energy amid the economic downturn depends on actions taken or not taken now by governments."
The report, launched on International Women's Day, focused on the need to improve women's rights in three key areas: economic power, political participation, and legal protection.
the former prime minister
"Female participation in society can improve a country's economic position, and you can't achieve your development goals unless you have females as part of the equation," she said.
"Countries who don't do that will always fail to fulfill their potential."