By Annie Banerji

The country that has a woman president, four women chief ministers and has generated the likes of internationally renowned actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi hasn’t scored too well when it comes to the condition of the fairer sex.

The Indian government released census data on Thursday that said every 14th girl child born in India dies before she can celebrate her fifth birthday. The March Census 2011 revealed a highly skewed gender ratio with the lowest level of child sex ratio (number of girls per 1,000 boys below five years of age) in the country’s history — 914 from 927 in 2001.

In today’s global scenario where Christine Lagarde has been appointed chief of the IMF and musical sensation Lady Gaga is number one on Forbes’ annual Celebrity 100 list, India, an emerging global power, seems to be widening the gulf between men and women in a putative patriarchal country.

Nearly 39 percent of Indian men and women believe that a man beating his wife is a justifiable act. This figure surfaced from the latest U.N. Women report titled “Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice“.

The study illustrates that 35 percent respondents stated to be victims of physical violence by their partners while 10 percent faced sexual violence at the hands of their companions.