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Popul Stud (Camb). 2001 Nov;55(3):291-308.

Excess mortality of girls in the Middle East in the 1970s and 1980s: patterns, correlates and gaps in research.

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  • 1Departments of International Health and Sociology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University.


Comparative research on girls' excess mortality in the Middle East is rare. Estimates from the United Nations suggest that absolute excess mortality of girls was not universal in the 1970s and was uncommon by the 1980s. Compared with historical Northwest Europe at similar levels of boys' under-five mortality, however, girls' under-five mortality was high in both periods. Studies of the allocation of food and health care suggest that parents invested less and provided less curative care to girls than boys where girls' excess mortality was greatest. Urbanization and women's relative economic opportunity account for much of the variation in relative mortality. Unexplained excess mortality of girls in the Middle East compared with historical Northwest Europe may be attributable to differences in socio-cultural, political, and economic systems that influence the forms of discrimination exercised against girls; however, inadequate measurement of these variables limits their consideration in comparative research.

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