Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Gender imbalance threatens Viet Nam

The widespread practice of aborting female fetuses, is fueling a growing gender gap in Viet Nam, Viet Nam News reported on April 23.

A survey carried out by the Institute for Social Development Studies shows that in the last decade, the gender ratio in Viet Nam has changed considerably. In many regions of the country, the number of boys has exceeded that of girls by 20 to 25 percent.

The study also indicates that the heightened gender disparity can be attributed to a national preference for boys. “Many couples will attempt to find out their babies’ gender before a final decision on whether or not to carry on with the birth,” said Khuat Thu Hong, the director of the Institute.

While ultrasound scans are banned in public hospitals, the technology is widely used at private clinics to determine the sex of the fetus. According to the article, upon discovering that their child will be a girl, many Vietnamese fathers express great disappointment and encourage their wives to undergo an abortion.

Population experts believe that the prevalence of sex-selective abortions is a major reason why Viet Nam has one of the highest overall abortion rates in the world. On average, a Vietnamese woman has 2.5 abortions during her lifetime.

“I have witnessed many women who have had to give birth 12 times, in an attempt to have a boy,” said Le Thi Quy, the director of Gender and Development Center. “This can be considered a kind of domestic violence.”

For the full article, click here.


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