In 2018, the sex ratio at birth was 115.1 boys/100 girls, representing an increase of 3% compared to 2017 and failing to reach the target of reducing the ratio to 112.8 boys/100 girls. The normal biological standard is 105 boys/100 girls.
It is expected that in the future, about 2-4 million Vietnamese men will not be able to find wives because the birth ratio favoring boys is too high. Photo: Le Phuong
Son La province has the largest sex ratio at birth imbalance of 120 boys/100 girls. The next four provinces are Hung Yen, Bac Ninh, Thanh Hoa and Hai Duong.
Nguyen Thi Quynh Anh, an expert from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said Vietnamese people traditionally favor boys over girls. Many believe that only sons could be responsible for worshiping their ancestors and maintaining the lineage. This is the gender prejudice, the underlying cause for sex imbalance at birth, Quynh Anh said.
Quynh Anh analyzed the differences in the roles, responsibilities, status and powers of men and women created by the social conception, which causes disadvantages for both sexes and demonstrates gender inequality.
According to the global statistics, women’s income is about 50-90% men’s. In Africa and Asia, women work 12-13 hours more than men in a week. Of the total 872 million illiterate people in developing countries, women account for two-thirds. In Vietnam alone, rural women work 14 hours a day and earn 20-40% less than men, Quynh Anh said.
She noted that since the introduction of ultrasound technology to determine prenatal sex, the gender imbalance increases. Many people are willing to abort when they know that the fetus is a girl.
Besides, many couples prefer to have only one to two children, therefore, they actively applied gender selection technology to have the desired sex of their offsprings. Meanwhile, legal regulations dealing with gender selection of unborn babies are not strong enough to deter, Quynh Anh added.
She stressed that gender imbalance at birth will adversely affect population structure in the future, which leads to male surplus in society. Without timely interventions, it is estimated that by 2050, Vietnam will have about 2.3 – 4.3 million men who cannot find wives. In the long term, serious consequences such as a shortage of women will increase pressure on early marriage for girls or increased prostitution and trafficking of women.
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