Gender differences in child health and mortality pose a critical challenge for public health surveillance and policy in India. Recent Sample Registration System (SRS) reports indicate that female children experience higher mortality than boys. The 2012 SRS report pointed to a significant gap (9 per 1000 live births) in under-five mortality rates between males and females. However, the nature of gender differentials in child mortality is changing.
Income inequality has risen to prominence as one of the central political issues of our time. Since the Great Recession, protests linked to the Occupy movement have occurred in many different countries around the world, often under slogans such as “We are the 99%”. A recent survey by the World Economic Forum of 700 elite decision-makers identified “Severe income disparity” as the 4th most concerning global risk in 2014. And 68% of investors responding to a recent Bloomberg Global Poll said that governments should confront the problem of income inequality. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, reiterated these concerns when she spoke to the Financial Times early last year.
Declining marriage rates in many societies, in particular among the poorer and disadvantaged population groups, has sparked growing interest. Current debates are often focused on whether the ‘failure’ to marry signifies deficiencies on the part of the individual, or insufficient societal resourcing of some groups to make them ‘marriageable’. Concerns are frequently expressed about old age being a grim prospect for the never-married, due to the lack of care and support from a spouse and adult children. In aggregate, such views and debates convey a negative picture of singlehood, and of unmarried people who are seen as especially problematic when they become old.
Population ageing, together with low economic growth, has put pressure on the financial equilibrium of many pension systems in Europe and other industrialized countries, forcing governments to increase the average retirement age. An extended working life – combined with the rapid technological progress taking place in many sectors – is likely to render the skills older workers attained at school obsolete. In this context, lifelong investment in training is a key strategy for increasing, or at least limiting the decline in, the productivity of older workers.