Vietnam: Sex Ratios at Birth Increasingly Imbalanced
Thursday, November 4, 2010 2:15 PM

The United Nations Population Fund reports that sex ratios are becoming increasingly imbalanced in Vietnam, with far more boys being born than girls in the past five years. Most recently, for every 100 females, 110.6 males were born - compared to a norm of 105.

This data is particularly concerning because of how quickly the rapid increase in the proportion of boys has occurred. Other Asian countries, such as China and Korea, have even greater sex imbalances, with 130 and 116 males being born to every 100 females respectively; however, both of these countries saw such imbalances develop over thirty years. In addition, the disparity between male and female births is declining in both of these countries.

In response to this trend, Vietnam banned fetal sex-selection in 2003. Other factors continue to contribute to the practice though, such as a son-preference, pressures to have smaller families, and accessibility to affordable and legal sex-selection technologies.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health has stated that the greatest challenge in overcoming the preference for sons will be changing social traditions that value men over women, because men typically carry on the family name and care for elderly parents. Policies that inform the public and enhance women's status in society have had success in other countries.

Compiled from: UN Warns on Vietnam Birth Ratio, Interagency Gender Working Group, (4 November 2010).