Why gender imbalance continues to grow?

07/08/2017

According to statistics of the General Office of Population and Planning, the country’s sex ratio at birth remained high after a national plan to control gender imbalance at birth for 2016-2025 was launched last year. Vietnam’s sex ratio at birth was reported at 112.2 in 2016, a slight decrease from 112.8 in 2015 but still higher than 111.2 in 2014.
Specialized population statistics also showed that 45 provinces and cities nationwide reported an alarmingly rising sex ratio at birth which topped 115 boys/100 girls, the Thanh Nien (Young People) daily reported. This ratio was highest in ten provinces and cities, namely Hung Yen, Hai Duong, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Nam Dinh, Hoa Binh, Hai Phong, Vinh Phuc, Quang Ninh and Quang Ngai, some of which registered a record high of 120. Hanoi also reported a soaring 114.5 as compared with the national average, with some districts hitting 120, the municipal Population and Family Planning Sub-Department reported.
According to statistics of the Population and Labor Statistics Department under the General Statistics Office, the Red River Delta remained the region recording the highest sex ratio at birth, which had steadily risen for five years in a row, from 115.3 in 2009 to 118 in 2014.
Notably, the male-to-female birth ratio surged accordingly with women’s educational levels, from between 106 and 111 in the group of mothers graduating primary school, to 113 in women of high school education and 115 in those of higher education, the Population and Labor Statistics Department reported.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the natural sex ratio at birth ranges between 102 and 106 boys/100 girls and any higher ratio shows signs of sex selection. A higher ratio in second and third births has also been observed in Vietnam.
Addressing a seminar held in late May in Vinh Phuc province to review the one-year implementation of the national plan to control gender imbalance for 2016-2025, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien acknowledged the imbalance of sex ratios at birth was growing speedily, widely and seriously, particularly in Red River Delta provinces.
Without prompt and effective intervention to this imbalance, between 2.3-4 million Vietnamese men would not be able to find a wife by 2050, experts estimated.
Experts attributed the imbalance mostly to sex selection at birth as a result of gender prejudice. Preference for boys and undervaluation of girls have deeply rooted in cultural values under the influence of Confucianism which grants higher social respect to men as they are considered the continuance of family lines and must take care of graves of family ancestors. Sons are also supposed to live with and look after their parents who mostly will feel uncomfortable living with daughters as they are regarded as children of other families once they get married.

The toughest challenge for the advocacy of non-selection of sex at birth was the must to have a son, which has deeply rooted in the mind of people here, said Ha Minh Diep, a commune officer in charge of family planning in Duong Lam village.

A family should have both sons and daughters like a tree must have root and branches, said Nguyen Van Vinh, an old man in Ba Vi suburban district of Hanoi, adding he had asked his oldest son and daughter-in-law who had two daughters to give birth to a third child even though he knew the couple would have more burden to shoulder.

Vinh’s thinking, which was common, especially in rural areas, explained the sex ratio imbalance in third births.
Despite an official ban on selection of sex at birth, ultrasonic and abortion services have been provided for this purpose without being sanctioned since it was difficult to detect violations, population officials said.
It was not that easy to punish health establishments violating this ban without explicit evidence which could hardly be collected as there were many ways to let a mother know her future baby’s sex without having to tell her straightly, said Ta Quang Huy, director of Hanoi Population and Family Planning Department, adding the sanction also appeared not strict enough to prevent sex-selective abortions.
Although identification of the gender of fetus was illegal, this practice was common in reality, said Nguyen Van Tan, deputy director of the General Department of Population and Family, citing some 81 percent of mothers knowing their babies’ sex before birth.
The gender imbalance would seriously impact the country’s socio-economic development as well as the life of women, men, families and communities, experts said. A shortage of women would make it difficult for men to find a wife and likely to have to stay single, which would lead to social consequences, including rising gender inequality, women’s early marriage, re-marriage and divorce, increases in prostitution, trafficking of women and children and violence against women, social unrests as a result of men’s social and sexual dissatisfaction and shortage of labor in particular occupations such as preschool or primary school teacher and nurse.
Experts agreed to tackle the problem in the long run, it was crucial to eliminate gender inequality and undervaluation of women - the very cause of gender imbalance, to ensure the rights of women who should have equal opportunities with men in all aspects of life.


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All comments [ 10 ]


Gentle Moon 7/8/17 20:56

The pursuit of sons could lead to a rise in human trafficking and sex crimes.

Jane smartnic 7/8/17 20:56

Vietnam is about to face a huge gender imbalance, mainly driven by a long-standing cultural preference for boys.

Love Peace 7/8/17 20:58

Vietnam’s vast population of unmarried men is sure to pose an array of challenges.

Pack Cassiopian 7/8/17 20:59

The social consequences of a population heavily tilted toward men include family conflicts, social unrest, gender inequality, and an overall rise in crime like the trafficking of women and sexual abuse.

John Smith 7/8/17 20:59

An excess of men is expected to lead to a surge in “bride imports” as unmarried local men pay marriage brokers to find them women, mostly in neighboring countries.

LawrenceSamuels 7/8/17 21:00

Vietnam thus faces two problems at once: a rapidly ageing population and a growing gender imbalance.

yobro yobro 7/8/17 21:01

Due to a lower birthrate and longer life expectancy, the country is aging rapidly and its workforce is shrinking rapidly.

MaskOf Zero 7/8/17 21:21

The imbalance resulted from Vietnamese families' traditional preference for sons over daughters.

Only Solidar 7/8/17 21:22

An imbalance in sex ratios at birth occurred later in Vietnam than in other countries, but at a much faster speed.

Deck Hero14 7/8/17 21:23

The main reason for the imbalance was gender selection among parents as there were not enough measures in place to enforce laws against this practice, which is particularly rampant at private clinics.

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