Indian women a third of world’s female suicides

Women in India accounted for 36% of global female suicide deaths in 2016, despite making up less than 18% of the world’s female population, according to a study in the October 2018 issue of the Lancet Public Health. Suicide is India’s leading cause of death among women ages 15 to 29, and rates for young and middle-aged women rank the highest among countries with similar demographics.

The study’s authors speculate that these suicides may be related to a conflict between women’s increasing education and empowerment and the persistence of their lower status in Indian society.

Vikram Patel, a professor in the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who was not involved in study, said in the December 2018 issue of Scientific American, “Deaths that occur due to suicide are also a product of the method that is used.” He noted that women in the West attempt suicide more often than men, but men tend to use more lethal means such as firearms, resulting in more deaths. In India, he said, men and women both use more fatal methods.

Read the Scientific American article: More Than a Third of Female Suicides Are Committed by Indian Women