Advances in Applied Sociology
2013. Vol.3, No.5, 215-221
Published Online September 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 215
An Appraisal of Gender Mainstreaming in Census of India 2011
Mohmad Saleem Jahangir, Aneesa Shafi
Department of Sociolo g y, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India
Received April 17th, 2013; revised May 17th, 2013; accepted May 24th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Mohmad Saleem Jahangir, Aneesa Shafi. This is an open access article distributed under the
Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Population census is a total process of collecting, compiling, evaluating, analyzing and publishing demo-
graphic, economic and social data pertaining, at a specified time, to all persons in a country or in a well
defined part of a country, drawing valid conclusions in situations of uncertainty and variability. Usually in
the context of prevailing gender discrimination issues, the figures revealed by means of census also have
divulged gender bias. Taking notice of this, efforts were made to make Census of India 2011 gender sen-
sitive in order to reveal a gender sensitive and objective picture of Indian population. The present paper
aims to understand and evaluate the whole activity of Census of India 2011 as a tool ensuring gender
Keywords: Census; Gender; Fertility; Migration; India; Household; Enumeration
Population Census is one of the fundamental tasks of the
government of any state. It has become a backdrop for govern-
ment’s political, economic and social policy formation. It is a
mechanism the government used to levy taxes, military service,
apportion representation and communal labour. Population
census is one of the key planning strategies towards sustainable
development and progress of a nation. It provides answer to
“How many we are” in terms of the total number of people
living in the entire nation, “Who we are?” in terms of age, sex,
education, occupation, economic activity and other crucial
characteristics, as well as “Where we live” in terms of housing
and access to social amenities. The answers to these questions
will provide numerical profile for planning and development
within a nation by providing, expanding and sustaining the
infrastructures that will enhance the quality of life of the people
(United Nations, 2008).
A population census is a principal means of collecting basic
population statistics as a part of an integrated programme of
data collection and compilation aimed at providing a compre-
hensive source of statistical information for economic and so-
cial development planning, for administrative purposes, and for
research and other uses. The value of census is increased if the
results can be employed together with the results of other in-
vestigations, and if it can furnish the information needed for
conducting other statistical investigations. The use of consistent
concepts and definitions throughout an integrated programme is
essential if the advantages of the relationships between popula-
tion census and other statistical investigations are to be fully
realized (United Nations, 1980).
In country like India, with multiethnic, multilingual, multi-
cultural and multilevel society, the census is more than a mere
head count of the population. It gives a snapshot of not only the
demographic but also the economic, social and cultural profile
of the country at a particular point of time. More often than not,
it is the only available source of primary data at the level of
village and town (ward).
The Indian Census has a rich tradition and enjoys the reputa-
tion of being one of the best in the world. The first census in
India was conducted in the year 1872 but was conducted at
different points of time in different parts of the country. In 1881
a census was taken for the entire country simultaneously. Since
then, Census has been conducted every ten years, without a
break. Thus, the Census of India 2011 is the 15th in the unbro-
ken series since 1872 (RGI, 2010).
Census of India 2011
Census of India 2011 marks a milestone in the history of
Census. It has been undertaken at a time when India is at an
inflexion point in history, when it sheds the legacy of the past
and emerged among the comity of Nations as a strong, self-
reliant and modern Nation. The basic benchmark statistics on
the state of human resources, demography, culture and eco-
nomic structure at this crucial juncture of the country’s history
would be vital to guide and shape the future of the Nations
(Chandramouli, 2011: p. 2).
The Census of India 2011 was conducted in two phases, viz.
“House-listing and Housing Census” and “Population Enuma-
ration”. During the first phase of Census, census houses and
households were identified and systematically listed in the
House-listing and Housing Census Schedule during the period
April to September 2010 all across India. Apart from listing
houses, some useful data on the amenities available to the
households were also collected for assessing condition of hu-
man settlement and housing deficits. During the second phase
of the census, the population of India was enumerated taking
into consideration various socio-economic, demographic and
other variables into account. The enumeration period was fixed
from February 09 to 28, 2011 with a revisional round of March
01 to 05, 2011. During this enumeration period entire popula-
tion living in households was enumerated and on the night of
February 28, 2011, the houseless population was enumerated.
The census moment and the reference date for the Census of
India 2011 is 00.00 hours of March 01, 2011. In order to update
the population with reference to the census moment, enumera-
tion of new visitor(s)/household(s) had to be undertaken who,
otherwise, were not enumerated earlier and also the birth(s)
were taken into account those who got birth after the household
was enumerated but before the census moment. Also the entries
were cancelled in the household schedules of those persons
who died after the enumeration but before census moment.
Births, deaths and arrivals of visitors that took place after 00.00
hours of March 01, 2011 were not considered for enumeration.
Persons Enumerated
All households were covered to enumerate the entire popula-
tion without omission and duplication, however taking care of
the following four rules:
1) All those who normally resided and were present in that
household during the entire period of enumeration i.e. from
February 09 to 28, 2011 (including both the days);
2) Also those who are known to be normally residing and
had actually stayed during a part of the enumeration period in
the household (February 09 to 28, 2011) but are not present at
the time of being enumerated.
3) Also those who were known to be normally residing in the
household and were not present at the time of enumeration but
were expected to return by February 28, 2011; and
4) Visitors who were present in the household enumerated
and were expected to be away from the place of their normal
residence during the entire enumeration period. For the purpose
of enumeration such visitors were treated as normal residents of
the households where they were actually found during the enu-
meration period p r ov i d ed th e y were not enumerated elsewhere.
The above four regulations clearly reveal that nationality was
not the criterion for enumeration i.e. anyone who was foreign
national but could qualify for any of these regulations was enu-
merated. However, the foreigners and their families who were
having diplomatic status were not enumerated although the
Indian nationals employed and staying with them were enu-
Census Variables
The census of India is conducted once in a decade, following
an extended de facto canvasser method. Under this approach,
data is collected from every individual by visiting the house-
hold and canvassing the same questionnaire all over the country.
Census of India 2011 focused on eleven variables. These are
Sex, Age, Marital Status, Religion, Caste and Tribe, Disability,
Language, Literacy, Work, Migration and Fertility. The house-
hold schedule enquired of these variables in form of following
29 heads (RGI, 2010):
1) Name of the person;
2) Relationship with head;
3) Sex (Male, female or Other);
4) Date of Birth and Age;
5) Current Marital Status (never married, currently married,
widowed, separated or divorced); Age at Marriage;
6) Religion;
7) Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe;
8) Disability (Disability in Seeing, Hearing, in Speech, in
movement, Mental retardation, Mental illness, any other or
multiple Disabilities);
9) Mother Tongue; Other languages Known;
10) Literacy Status (illiterate or literate); Status of attendance
(attending School, College, Vocational, Special Institution for
disabled, literacy centre, any other institution, attended before
or never attended); Highest educational level attained;
11) Work Particulars: Worked any time last year (main
worker, marginal worker or non-worker); Category of Economy
activity (Cultivator, Agricultural Labourer, Worker in house-
hold industry or other worker); Characteristics of Workers and
Non Workers-Occupation; Nature of Industry, trade or service;
Class of Worker (Employer, Employee. Single Worker, Family
Worker); Non-Economic Activity (for non workers and mar-
ginal workers); Seeking or available for work (for non workers
and marginal workers); Travel to place of work (for other
12) Birth Place;
13) Migration Characteristics: Place of Last residence within
or outside India and place of last residence at the time of migra-
tion (rural or urban); Reason of Migration (Work/employment,
Education, Marriage, Moved after birth, moved with household
or any other); Duration of stay in this village/town since migra-
14) Fertility Particulars: Children surviving; Children ever
born; Number of children born alive during last one year.
Gender Mainstreaming
Gender remains one of the most prominent axis of exclusion.
As Jo Bealle avers, gender is an essential construct within
which, questions regarding the processes and outcomes of mar-
ginalization in the urban environment must be framed. She
argues that “… women and men are not just workers or home-
makers but have a range of social roles in the household, mar-
ket and community. If the concept of gender helps to uncover
the constructed, and thus mutable, nature of these social roles, it
also directs attention to the interaction between the organization
of work and other social relationships. The consequence of this
interaction for many women is a burden of multiple responsi-
bilities for both social reproduction and economic production,
many of which are unremunerated and thus invisible in national
accounts and other data used for planning purposes” (Bell,
Population enumeration by gender composition is one of the
indispensable demographic characteristics and provides sig-
nificant demographic scrutiny. Census of India has the practice
of bringing out information by gender composition on various
aspects of the population. Changes in gender composition lar-
gely reflect the underlying social, economic and cultural pat-
terns of the society in different ways.
According to the Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, we have
seven types of gender disparities. However, the disparity be-
tween women and men can take many different forms. Indeed,
gender disparity is not one homogeneous phenomenon, but a
collection of disparate and interlinked problems. In some re-
gions in the world, disparity between women and men directly
involves matters of life and death, and takes the brutal form of
unusually high mortality rates of women and a consequent pre-
ponderance of men in the total population, as opposed to the
preponderance of women found in societies with little or no
gender bias in health care and nutrition (Sen, 2001).
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s .
Given a preference for boys over girls that many societies,
belonging particularly to India, have gender bias can manifest
itself in the form of the parents wanting the newborn to be a
boy rather than a girl. Even when demographic characteristics
do not show much or any male bias, there are other ways in
which women can have less than a square deal. Girls have far
less opportunity of schooling than boys do. There are other
deficiencies in basic facilities available to women, varying from
encouragement to cultivate one’s natural talents to fair partici-
pation in rewarding social functions of the community. Even
when there is relatively little difference in basic facilities in-
cluding schooling, the opportunities of higher education may be
far fewer for young women than for young men. In terms of
employment as well as promotion in work and occupation,
women often face greater handicap than men. In many societies
the ownership of property can also be very unequal. Even basic
assets such as homes and land may be very asymmetrically
shared. The absence of claims to property can not only reduce
the voice of women, but also make it harder for women to enter
and flourish in commercial, economic and even some social
activities. There are often enough, basic inequalities in gender
relations within the family or the household, which can take
many different forms. Even in cases in which there are no overt
signs of male bias in, say, survival or son preference or educa-
tion, or even in promotion to higher executive positions, the
family arrangements can be quite unequal in terms of sharing
the burden of housework and child care.
Once we have an overview of Indian society vis-à-vis its
culture, one could easily find trace the cultural roots of this pre-
vailing gender bias. The issues of women ranging from Sati to
Widow Remarriage have historically pushed the women to the
back foot. Such issues could also be found in the census related
activities also.
Even though gender had been a prominent cross-cutting pri-
ority in 2001 census, data related to female count, marital status,
female headed households, female disability and female work-
participation has continued to suffer from under count or under
reporting. The 2001 census enumerated several villages/dis-
tricts that had reported very few women, very low female liter-
acy and no female worker. To ensure an accurate picture an
attempt to integrate gender issues into the various stages of the
census taking has been undertaken and briefly described in this
Firstly, gender critical areas were identified on basis of three
criteria emerging from the 2001 Census. These were: overall
sex ratio, female literacy and female work participation. The
advantages of using these three indicators are that they reflect
the status of the women and additionally enable analysis at the
lowest disaggregated level, i.e. village level. Thus, districts
with low sex ratio (less than 900); low female literacy (less than
30%) or low female work participation rate (less than 20%)
were identified on the basis of 2001 Census. Likewise analysis
with a different cut-off was done for cities/towns and 262 gen-
der-critical districts (including cities/towns) out of the 593 dis-
tricts across the country were identified for focused attention.
The number of gender critical districts have been identified in
Uttar Pradesh (60), followed by Bihar (28), Haryana (18),
Orissa (17), Punjab (16), Madhya Pradesh (16), Rajasthan (15),
Assam (12), Delhi (9), Jammu & Kashmir (8), Kerala (9),
Jharkhand (8), Arunachal Pradesh (7), Gujarat (4), Nagaland
(3), Tripura (3), West Bengal (3), Uttaranc hal (3), Maharashtra
(3), Puducherry (3), Mizoram (2), Tamil Nadu (2), Himachal
Pradesh (1), Andra Pradesh (1), Karnataka (1) and Chandigarh
(1) (Census of India 2001).
Enumerator training in these 262 districts was considered the
key to ensuring completeness and accuracy of data concerning
women and girls. Hence, for these 260 gender critical districts,
it was been decided to create a pool of 260 Gender Master
Trainer Facilitators (GMTFs) for training of enumerators in the
specific gender module (instead of Master Trainers), thus mini-
mizing the diffusion losses due to the cascade approach of
training and covering about 1.2 million enumerators.
It was decided that the key gender elements will be inte-
grated throughout the generic training module that explains
how to ask and fill up information for each question in the sche-
dule. This was also complemented by the development of a
gender-specific module for the identified 260 critical districts
only. This ensured that gender aspects were mainstreamed
across the training module to be used in all districts and addi-
tional attention will be given through the specific gender mod-
ule to the 260 districts where returns on gender parameters were
not fully accu rate.
The outline for generic and specific modules, training aides
and kits to be developed were subsequently finalized, along
with consistent gender-sensitive communication materials to re-
inforce gender element s and complement training efforts thro ugh
publicity and communication initiatives.
Lastly, the training guides that include a specific gender
module right from enumerator to national trainer levels were
developed. The training guides integrate the seven categories of
gender-specific issues stated above through well laid out ses-
sion-plans. To facilitate the sessions, appropriate teaching aids
in the form of an e-module, role-plays, quizzes, flyers and data-
posters have all been developed. A two sided flyer in A4 size
containing gender-data on one side and gender mainstreaming
matrix on the other for 260 critical districts is being printed by
RGI in local language for all the 2.7 million enumerators across
the country. The flyer will form part of both generic and spe-
cific training programmes.
For reinforcing gender elements in 260 gender critical dis-
tricts, bi-lingual gender-data posters (English and Hindi) were
printed for use during training programmes and publicizing at
training venues and government offices in the district. The
GMTFs during training of enumerators discussed the district
situation in 2001 census in terms of the indicators shown in the
poster and later emphasize the importance of completeness of
data concerning women & girls. This was done through a 45
minute training capsule that focused on ensuring inclusion,
better netting of different categories of women and appropriate
information on births of girls, female headed household etc.
Gender Elements in Census of India 2011
In order to ensure the objective and inclusive coverage of
people following seven elements were taken due care:
1) Full coverage of population: It is usually found that peo-
ple feel hesitation in revealing the presence of any extra-ordi-
nary or differently-abled person belonging to their family par-
ticularly that of a widow, divorced, physically or mentally
challenged, etc. which could otherwise lay a considerable in-
fluence on the issues like sex ratio, population differently-abled
etc. As a result, in Census of India 2011, stress was laid to en-
sure inclusion of females (elderly, infants, unmarried, widowed,
divorced, separated and differently-abled). It was also stressed
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 217
to count everyone, paying attention to counting newborn and
infant girls, elderly women, females with disability, single,
deserted, divorced and widowed.
2) Female Headed Households: The head of household for
census purpose is a person who bears the chief responsibility
for managing the affairs of the household and taken decision on
behalf of the household. There may be cases where the head of
household is away from the family for the entire period of enu-
meration and therefore is not eligible to be enumerated at the
present place of enumeration. In such cases, the person on
whom the responsibility of managing the affairs of household
rests should be regarded as the head (RGI 2010: 36).
India, in present times, is undergoing through an intensified
magnitude of migration with multi-dimensional nature which
has subsequently led to a shift in its prevailing patriarchy. In-
crease in the number of female-headed-households has been
one of the outcomes. However, the predominant mindset of
patriarchy is not allowing us to demarcate an objective picture
of these households. Variation across states in the incidence of
female headship also is considerable. In some accounts, the
higher incidence of female headship in particular states (e.g.
Kerala) relates to traditions of a more elevated status of such
women, where matriliny has been prevalent. Other explanations
link the phenomenon to high rates of male outmigration, in-
cluding working overseas, which may indicate that such fe-
male-headed households are comparatively well off, at least in
material terms. The proportion of female-headed-households
increases in older age groups and the majority are widowed,
divorced or separated. The process through which female head-
ship arises is important in terms of what forms of social support
are available; this probably differs considerably across social
groups or communities. (Institute of Development Studies,
Brighton, 1995). Besides this, various issues have aroused with
relation to the female headship and gender bias. Institute of
Development Studies, Brighton 1995 stresses that:
India contains one of the largest concentrations of poor
people in the world and thus poverty has been an area of exten-
sive debate, measurement and policy intervention. There re-
mains considerable controversy over what measures of poverty
and/or methods of poverty assessment are most appropriate
and this is reflected in differing data and assessments. In spite
of all the attention to poverty, differential experiences of pov-
erty according to other caste and community, and the interac-
tions of these with gender, are relatively under-analyzed.
Whilst womens relationship to poverty is shaped by the wider
context, there are also gender specific processes of impover-
ishment. Here, intra-household processes and the incidence of
female headship are particularly considered.”
Such emerging issues can be dealt once we know the nature
and magnitude of the female-headed-households. Taking into
account such issues, it was stressed in Census of India 2011 to
undergo proper netting of female headed households. Efforts
were made to correctly know and share definition of head of
household with the respondent/family and correctly identify
female headed households.
3) Age, Marriage and Religion: Age is one of the most im-
portant items of demographic data. It divulges a clear picture of
the nature of the population in terms of children, youth and
elderly. Once an objective picture is revealed, it becomes easy
for a nation to understand the nature of development and related
issues. It was attempted in census of India 2011 to involve the
mothers to get the correct age of their children. It was also
made mandatory not to assess the age of a person by her/his
physical appearance (RGI 2010: 39 - 44).
Marital status is also one of the significant variables of Cen-
sus. Also is evident that the data revealed from Census is re-
quired frequently required to develop sound policies and pro-
grammes aimed at fostering the welfare of the country and its
people. This data source becomes indispensible for effective
and efficient public administration besides serving the needs of
planners. Once we have the reliable data related to marital
status available with us, it becomes easy for us to identify the
issues like late marriage, child marriage, divorce, widows, etc.
Besides it also helps the planners and policy makers to realize
the intensity of these problems and subsequently seek for their
solution. The Census of India 2011 stressed to ensure an objec-
tive picture related to the marital status including age at mar-
riage also.
It is not necessary that all the members in the household pro-
fess the same religion. Usually we inter-religious marriages
taking place around us and even there are frequent religious
conversions taking place nowadays. While seeking information,
an enumerator usually presumes that the religion professed by
the head of the household is the religion professed by whole
family even though case may not be so. The Census of India
2011 focused more on asking this question to the members
individually particularly those of women.
4) Disability: The data on disability is generally found useful
for the varied purposes like helping the planners to allocate
adequate resources and providing services to persons living
with disabilities and their families. It also helps in taking ade-
quate measures to provide them equal opportunities in educa-
tion and employment and even to make available such infra-
structure at various places like Railway stations, Bus Stands,
Hospitals etc. which would be helpful for them.
If the picture revealed by census 2001 is analyzed, various
doubts and come to the limelight which thereby force us to
think about the non-reporting of the persons with disability par-
ticularly women. The Census of India 2001 reveals that United
States of America has got more disability cases than of India.
Consequently it was attempted in Census of India 2011 to en-
quire and probe about the presence of a physically or mentally
disabled person. It was particularly stressed to probe for women
and girls with disability, especially single and elderly women
because often information regarding them is not shared. Enu-
merators were stressed to emphasize confidentiality of informa-
tion. Enumerators were directed not to change the expression or
sympathize or laugh when a person revealed about her/his dis-
ability or of her/his family member.
5) Mother Tongue and Other Languages: Mother tongue
is the language spoken in childhood by the person’s mother to
the person. If the mother died in infancy, the language mainly
spoken in the person’s home in childhood will be the mother
tongue. In case of infants and deaf mutes, the language usually
spoken by their mother should be recorded as her/his mother
tongue (RGI, 2010: 54). In present day societies of India we
observe marriages taking place across cities, villages and even
states which develop the possibility of having different mother
tongue and languages known by every member of the house-
hold. Consequently in Census of India 2011, mother tongue of
each household member, especially married female members
was to be enquired and reported.
6) Literacy: Education as a means of advancement of capac-
ity, well-being and opportunity is uncontested, and more so
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among females. During the last six decades since independence,
there has been phenomenal development of education system in
India resulting in the creation of one of the largest education
systems of the world. The government and various other recog-
nized and unrecognized institutions in our country offer endless
educational, vocational and professional courses for the people
irrespective of age and sex to enhance and enrich their skills.
Usually the conservative people in India generally stop their
female children from getting educated and many of them hide
the literacy status of females even if they get educated. It was
stressed, in Census of India 2011, that anybody who can read
and write with understanding is considered to be literate and
same was to be confirmed especially for women and girls. It
was also made mandatory to probe to ensure that women at-
tending adult literacy classes and girls attending non-formal
education centers are reported as attending educational institu-
7) Female Work: Work may be defined as participation in
any economically productive activity with or without participa-
tion compensation, wages or profit. Such participation may be
physical and/or mental in nature. Work involves not only actual
work but also includes effective supervision and direction of
work. It even includes part time help or unpaid work on farm,
family enterprise or in any other economy activity. And in cen-
sus a person is categorized as a worker when she/he has par-
ticipated in any economically productive activity (RGI, 2010:
pp. 61-63).
The women labour constitutes an important segment of the
labour force in India and their participation in the labour force
is increasing over the years. Wage work in India, as elsewhere,
in a number of sectors is sharply differentiated along sexual
lines. There are only a few occupations, which are the exclusive
preserve of either men or women. When men and women work
in the same industry, one can find clear distinction between
men’s and women’s work. However, women have often been
classified as non-workers when it comes on to Census. This is
primarily because of the existing patriarchal setup wherein the
work of women is not acknowledged as a result their participa-
tion is not reported. It may be pertinent to reveal that in India, a
large number of farm and non-farm activities are family based.
Many male and female members of the cultivating households,
irrespective of their age, work in the peak season of ploughing,
sowing, harvesting and collection of farm production. Some of
them, particularly women withdraw themselves from the labour
force in the slack season. But not all of them are enumerated as
workers during the census. Similarly, members of the house-
hold who work in the household industry intermittently and
qualify to be treated as workers but majority of them are omit-
ted as workers. Members of the household also participate in
other seasonal economic activities, like gur making, gathering
of firewood, leaves and collection of other wild growing forest
material; women giving tuition classes or attending to the fam-
ily shop; tending cattle for the production of milk. These
women are likely missed as workers during enumeration. Even
it was witnessed during enumeration many enumerators declare
all those women as non-workers who are illiterate. To ensure
inclusive enumeration, the census of India 2011 made it man-
datory to make probing enquiries related to work. Whenever
any person especially women inform that they did not work,
never record them as non-worker straight away. Women are
often engaged in unpaid but economically productive work.
Recognize and identify such work correctly e.g. milching the
cow and using milk for household consumption. Appropriate
netting of female work in all economic activities especially for
the informal sector and unpaid work was made.
8) Migration: For census purpose, Migration is considered
to be the movement, which involves change of residence from
one village/town to another village/town. For census purpose
there are two types of migrants, viz. migrants by place of birth
and migrants by place of last residence (RGI, 2010: p. 84). Ac-
cording to this definition one would usually understand that a
major chunk of female population is a migrant, as marriage in
India is usually patrilocal and it involves the change of resi-
dence of females. And it is usually seen that this idea is not
taken into account by the enumerators and respondents while
enumeration is taking place and as such omit the notion of their
migration. Consequently, in Census of India 2011, proper care
was taken to understand the nature of migration of females and
stress was laid on probing and record correct birthplace and
place of last residence for each member of the household, espe-
cially women. It was also stressed that in case of women, the
primary reason for migration need not only be marriage only.
There could be other reason also which could be same as those
of men like employment or education. It was also stressed that
the nature and reason of migration be noted separately because
in the same household there may be cases where the reasons of
migration are different for different members of the household.
9) Fertility: The questions related to fertility in the census of
India 2011 were more gender sensitive as these were the ques-
tions which were asked in case of ever married women only. It
was made advisable to obtain the information directly from the
concerned female members of the household while taking care
of the sensitivity of the gender and not offending the sentiments
of the respondent. It is common experience that the birth of the
daughter or son may not be reported readily if she or he is not
actually surviving at the time of enumeration. In fact deaths are
still high in this country. There is a chance of a number of such
cases being missed unless specifically questioned about. It was
stressed to sensitively probe for married daughters and es-
tranged children who are not reported among currently surviv-
ing children. It was advised to probe to ensure that girls are
reported among children ever born, even if they may not have
survived and for female infants who were born but later died as
they are often not reported at all.
Results from Census of India 2011
Subsequent to efforts put on to ensure gender inclusion, the
Census of India 2011 revealed an encouraging picture of female
headed households. Of the total 246,692,667 households,
26,884,345 were found to be female-headed i.e. 10.9 percent of
total households showing a 0.5 percent increase to the figures
of 2001. It may be pertinent to mention here that 10.4 house-
holds in rural areas were found to be female headed while as it
was found to be 12 percent in urban areas, depicting 0.3 and 1.0
percent increase to the figures of 2001 respectively. In seven
major States, the proportion of Single Member Female Headed
Households is more than 20 percent e.g. Chhattisgarh (29.9
percent), Madhya Pradesh (24.9 percent), Tamil Nadu (26.1
percent), Andhra Pradesh (27.1 percent), Maharashtra (22.2
percent), Odisha (22.1 percent) and Gujarat (20.4 percent)
(Chandramouli, 2011).
The Sex Ratio at global level has decline from 986 in 2001 to
984 2011. Same has been witnessed in United States of Amer-
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 219
ica (1029 to 0125), China (944 to 926), Indonesia (1004 to 988),
and Nigeria (1016 to 987) (Chandramouli, 2011: 78). Unlike,
the Sex Ratio in the country which was 933 in 2001 has risen
by 7 points to 940 in 2011. The increase in rural areas has been
1 point from 946 to 947. The same in urban areas has been 26
points from 900 to 926. As per Census 2011, Jammu and Kash-
mir, Bihar and Gujarat showed a decline in sex ratio while 29
states showed an increase. Among the major States, Bihar,
Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat have exper ienced a fal l in sex
ratio. The decline ranged from 2 points in Gujarat to 9 points in
Jammu and Kashmir. Other smaller Union Territories showing
steep decline are Dadar and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
Perceptible increase has been observed in the major States such
as Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh,
Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra,
Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and all other States located in the
North East. (Chandramouli, 2011: 48). It may be pertinent to
mention here that the States having historically low sex ratio
such as Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh (which were
designated as gender critical) have depicted a significant in-
crease in the sex ratio as recorded in Census of India 2011.
There has been a considerable increase in the literacy rate of
females as well. The effective literacy rate has gone up from
64.83% in 2001 to 74.04% in 2011 showing an increase of
9.21%. As against 53.67 percent in 2001 it has increased to
65.46 percent in 2011 and the male-female gap in literacy rate
has decreased from 21.59 in 2001 to 16.68 percent in 2011
((Chandramouli, 2011: 102). Besides, the decadal difference
(2001-2011) in literacy has been recorded more for females
(11.79 percent) than males (6.88 percent) (Chandramouli, 2011:
p. 117). The effective literacy rate figure s for males and females
are 82.14 and 65.46% respectively. Thus three-fourth of the
population of aged 7 years and above is literate in the country.
Four out of every five males and two out of every three females
in the country are literate. The country has continued its march
in improving literacy rate by recording a jump of 9.21 percent
points during 2001-2011. However, efforts are still required to
achieve the target of 85% set by the Planning Commission to be
achieved by the year 2011-12. An extremely positive devel-
opment in the present decade is that the gap of 21.59 percent
points recorded between male and female literacy rates in 2001
Census has reduced to 16.68 percent points in 2011. Though
the target set for the year 2011-2012 by the Planning Commis-
sion of reducing the gap to 10 percent points has not been
achieved, yet the 5 percent point reduction is a welcome step in
that direction.
Gender equality is more than a goal of itself. It is a precondi-
tion for meeting the challenges of reducing poverty, promoting
sustainable development and building good governance. And
the foundation of gender equality lies in the acknowledgement
of the efforts put on by the women towards the societies and
nation. The gender mainstreaming activity of Census of India
2011 was an effort to acknowledge the existence of females and
their contribution towards their families and societies. The
above mentioned results revealed from Census of India 2011
divulge an encouraging picture of the efforts put on to stream-
line the census activity on the basis of gender. Although the
results revealed are not revolutionary, it could be considered as
revolutionary step towards the gender equality and the method-
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