Report Examines Gender-Based Sex Selection

The UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, WHO, and OHCHR issued a statement examining causes and consequences of gender-based sex selection. In South, East and Central Asian countries, the sex ratio imbalances are growing and can be as skewed as 130 males per every 100 females. By contrast, the normal sex ratio is 102-106 males per every 100 females born.

According to the statement, “Sex selection in favour of boys is a symptom of pervasive social, cultural, political, and economic injustices against women, and a manifest violation of women’s human rights…There is a huge pressure on women to produce sons…which not only directly affects women’s reproductive decisions, with implications for their health and survival, but also puts women in a position where they must perpetuate the lower status of girls through son preference.”

The statement notes that patrilineal inheritance and the reliance on sons for economic support and the performance of death rites contributes to the preference for male children. Sex selection can be performed through “prenatal sex detection and selective abortion, or following birth through infanticide or child neglect.” The statement calls for the establishment of guidelines on the use of technology by health professionals, educational and awareness-raising programs about female infanticide, and incentives for families with only daughters.


UNFPA Press Release 6/14/11; Preventing Gender-Based Sex Selection: An Interagency Report 6/11

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