Readers suggest ways to reduce gender imbalance in Vietnam

Gender imbalance in Vietnam is an issue that has caused much concern among SGGP readers.


Reader Truc Giang has suggested that Vietnam should introduce measures to provide subsidies to school-going girls and support families with a girl child, besides also carrying out effective policies for social welfare to speed up gender balance at birth.


Truc Giang wrote, “At present, the gender ratio in Vietnam is 111.9 boys to 100 girls. This gap has widened further in the first months of this year, with 112.3 boys to 100 girls, according to the General Office for Family Planning.


From 2006 to date, this ratio has been showing a very strong upward trend, with almost a steady 1 percent rise, and is now so high that it is worrisome.


He added that 80 percent of localities show an alarming gap with two northern provinces of Hai Duong and Hung Yen showing a ratio of 120 boys to 100 girls.


The conclusion is that gender discrimination could lead to 2-3 million unmarried men in Vietnam in coming years, if gender disparity continues.


Some readers pointed out that there are many causes leading to a gender imbalance. Firstly, this generates from outdated notions of a male heir, resulting in intentional skewing of the natural balance at birth, even though people are fully knowledgeable and aware of the dangers of gender imbalance.


Present gender imbalance ratio at birth is 112.3 boys to 100 girls (Photo: THANH HAI)

Most of the very poor and impoverished avoid any talk on sex and birth control. A survey released by the City's Health Department on Monday shows that only 43 percent of 1,120 female workers said they are using birth-control measures. Of these women, more than 15 percent admitted that the measures they use are withdrawal before ejaculation or the rhythm method, which have both proven to be unsafe.


More alarming was that nearly 60 percent of the people questioned said they had never heard of morning-after birth control pills.


Most of the people targeted for the survey were under 30 years of age and had just passed high school, and were under the assumption that contraceptive measures were negative for their health.


Vu Thi Thanh Huong, director of the City's Reproductive Health Care Centre said that females working in industrial zones are more likely to be subjects of sexual diseases or unexpected pregnancy, than those working in other sectors.


More than 13 percent of the surveyed people have had one or more abortions.


Their situation becomes even more dangerous when they have abortions in illegal health clinics or self-treat themselves with spurious drugs, said Huong.


However, the only health workers available in emergency cases in industrial zones have no expertise in the area of sex healthcare and are unable to give necessary support to female workers, she added.


"They are afraid that these activities will disrupt product management and working time, subsequently reducing turnover," said Huong.


A worker in Dong Anh Industrial Zone said it was impossible for foreign employers to allow workers to use their working time to get information on reproductive health. Their main priority was to make profits.


According to female workers and experts, many women believe that reproductive health and sexual problems are private and sensitive issues, and this is another reason preventing them from seeking the right knowledge on an issue that affects them.


Other readers agreed with Deputy Prime Minister Nhan’s idea that one of the solutions is to increase the number of social collaborators in population units and health departments and collaborate with gender education programs, so that students have a correct and healthy view on gender and gender equality.


They laid emphasize on the need to review the work of family planning units, notably the objectives in implementation of population policies, such as among cadres, party members, civil servants.


Gender imbalance is a major challenge for the country's population, especially in the current decade. The government and all levels of authorities must create positive and proactive measures to prevent and reduce the gender gap impact and damage to a minimum.


Efforts should focus on how to change people's perceptions so as to   raise self-consciousness and self-esteem to make all responsible for sharing the serious issue of gender imbalance, said many readers.


source SGGP, translated by Dan

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