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There are 50 million fewer women in South Asia today than there should be – girl babies are killed before birth through sex-selective abortions, or die prematurely through violence and neglect. Millions more girls and women face discrimination – they have less to eat than boys and men, are denied an education, are forced into dowry marriages, have little or no access to health services, and suffer violence. This situation will not just be changed by state laws and international agreements. Until men’s and women’s belief that violence against women is a ‘private’ matter and culturally acceptable is challenged and changed, the violence and discrimination will continue.

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