Monthly update rom UNFPA in Asia and the Pacif c
“There is huge pressure on women toproduce sons, which not only directly aectswomen’s sexual and reproductive lives withimplications or their health and survival, butalso puts women in a position where theymust perpetuate the lower status o girlsthrough son preerence,” said Nobuko Horibe,Director or Asia-Pacic o UNFPA.A skewed SRB will aect the population sexratio structure in uture, which, in turn, willresult in a situation where there is an excesso males in society. Scarcity o women couldincrease pressure on women to marry at ayounger age, oten sacricing educationalopportunities, there may be a rise in demandor sex work, and tracking networks mayalso expand in response to this imbalance.“Governments should give top priority todeveloping and promoting programmes andpolicies to support the girl child in areas suchas inheritance laws, dowries and nancial andother social protection in old age that refecta commitment to human rights and genderequality,” added Horibe.Governments in aected countries haveundertaken a number o measures to haltincreasing sex ratio imbalances. However,renewed and concerted eorts are nowneeded by governments and civil society,including eorts to address the deeply rootedgender discrimination against women andgirls which lies at the heart o sex selection.“To keep up the momentum toward achievingMillennium Development Goal 3 on genderequality in Viet Nam, eorts need to bededicated to changing couples’ traditionalpreerence or male children, as well astowards empowering women’s position inthe amily and society as a whole. Morequalitative research is also needed so we canbetter understand the underlying social andcultural actors behind the SRB imbalance.This will, in turn, provide a oundation orimproving education activities and otherinterventions,” said Eamonn Murphy, UnitedNations Resident Coordinator a.i in Viet Nam.
Ending Gender Imbalances Must RemainInternational Priority, Says UNFPA’s Asia-Pacic Director
Warns that 117 million women now “missing” in Asia
“Joint international and national actions to endprenatal sex selection and discrimination against womenshould remain a priority or all,” Nobuko Horibe, theDirector o UNFPA’s Asia and Pacic Regional Oce, saidat the opening o the workshop on “Skewed Sex Ratios atBirth: Addressing the Issue and the Way Forward”. Heldon 5-6 October, the international orum aims to nd moreways to reduce sex ratio imbalances.“We must join orces to ensure that sex selection isunderstood as discrimination against women and girlsand should end,” Horibe said in her speech to expertsrom 11 Asian, Eastern European and Caucasian nations.“We must accelerate our eorts and give priority todeveloping programmes and policies that oster normsand an attitude o ‘zero tolerance’ or discrimination,harmul attitudes and unethical practices, such as prenatalsex selection. Gender equality is at the very heart o eachcountry’s successul development.”Horibe told participants that some 117 million womenwere “missing” in Asia today and suggested ways orward.“Improving gender equality and supporting nationalpolicies to address sex ratio imbalance require urgent,concerted eorts by all segments o the governmentand society,” she stressed. “It requires strong politicalcommitment as well as downstream actions at thecommunity level to promote behaviour change and toaddress complex socio-cultural realities. That is why weare all here today. By bringing together our experiences
Nobuko Horibe (let) addressing the workshop
P h o t o : U N F P A V i e t N a m