High suicide rate for young women in South India
April 2, 2004 8:26 AM   Subscribe

The highest suicide rate in the world has been reported among young women in South India by a new study. The research is of major importance, according to the World Health Organization, as it brings to light Asia's suicide problem. "I was surprised to find the rates were so staggeringly high," says paediatrician Anuradha Bose. “I wonder if it's just another manifestation of the gender bias." Stress factors… affect Indian women in particular, such as issues of marriage and dowry. How can the WHO address this unacceptable situation for young women in South India and elsewhere? The article notes that studies are under way in other countries where young women are under great social pressures, and more suicide prone, including China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam (and there are many others where this should be researched).
posted by mcgraw (9 comments total)
If that link fails (it's a printer-friendly page), try this one.

There are so many countries in the world where women face insurmountable problems. How can cultural norms be changed to protect them?
posted by mcgraw at 8:30 AM on April 2, 2004

Maybe modernization, globalization is the only way to free everyone from the iron hand of the Hindu caste system.

China also, the rapid wealth-gain of the middle class will hopefully break the grip of a one party rule.
posted by the fire you left me at 8:30 AM on April 2, 2004

This is very interesting--thanks.
posted by y2karl at 8:30 AM on April 2, 2004

Suicides? Self-immolation?

Why not call it what it is: murder.

Whoops, I accidently spilled kerosene on myself and stumbled into the stove.
posted by alms at 8:35 AM on April 2, 2004

I wonder if it's just another manifestation of the gender bias," says Bose. She believes stress factors such as family conflicts, domestic violence, academic failures, unfulfilled romantic ideals and mental illness all contribute to the high levels of teen suicide.

I guess that gender bias (which can be a problem _both_ for men and woman) doesn't belong to the class of gender neutral factors as family conflicts, violence, overstressed academic failures etc

Notably, young women were much more likely to kill themselves than young men - the reverse of the rest of the world. In Western countries, men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women.

So I wonder if in Western countries there's some kind of gender bias against men ?

Suicides accounted for between 50 and 75 per cent of all deaths in adolescent girls and about a quarter of all deaths in boys aged 10 to 19.

I wonder as well, what's the proportion for Western countries ?

And my wild guess is :gender bias may sometimes be used as a coverup-explain-everything for a more insidious factor like too-fast economy growth that doesn't cut _any_ slack for people adapting less quickly then companies (that not being human don't suffer) to changes ; combine this with lack of serious social policies and no wonder some people suicides.

She also suspects that poor countries that are developing rapidly may suffer higher suicide rates

Yup yup. Curiously enough not much was written on New Scientist on it or by the researcher.
posted by elpapacito at 9:13 AM on April 2, 2004

Good points elpapacito if the author is going to play the blame game and point to gender bias look at the western suicide rates. I think it is wrong to politicize this into a gender war, suicide is not that simple.

The article mentions intergenerational conflict as being a big problem in agrarian societies changing to industrial ones. You are expected to do as your parents did is in conflict with the realities of a changing world. As a result naturally difficult choices like career, who to marry, lifestyle, where to live all become even incredibly more difficult.

In western cultures we are facing an aging population and in 20 or 40 years there will be too many old people and not enough young people to take care of them. This will also create intergenerational conflict except it will be the old people killing themselves at a higher rate. That is my prediction anyway.
posted by stbalbach at 10:39 AM on April 2, 2004

I wouldn't be surprised to find that a lot of this has to do with methods of suicide. Note that the study doesn't report the rate at which suicide is attempted, only the rate at which it "succeeds."

I can't remember from where I remember this, but in the US anyhow, women are rather more likely than men to try suicide -- but they're also more likely to try overdosing on drugs or wrist-slitting or other less "successful" methods than men, who are more likely to jump from a high place or blow their brains out. So you see more women attempting suicide, and more men dying of suicide.

If women in southern India tend to attempt suicide by more successful methods, then they'll show up as more suicidal even if they attempt suicide no more frequently than women anywhere else.

Though I'd agree that "self-"immolation is much more likely to be plain murder than actual suicide.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:25 PM on April 2, 2004

Educating India's young women.
posted by homunculus at 12:32 PM on April 2, 2004

This is, of course, assuming that these women are really dead.

Would custom be satisfied if these women just declared themselves suicides and moved to a different town?
posted by SPrintF at 6:00 PM on April 2, 2004

« Older Templars, Osama, Umberto Eco, D&D and OS X....   |   Microsoft - Sun Collaboration Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments