Buddhist dignitaries call for redressing birth gender imbalance

A conference was held in Hanoi on October 30 to seek experience in dealing with birth gender imbalance for the cities and provinces of Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Hung Yen, Hai Duong, Nam Dinh and Thua Thien-Hue.

The event was part of a nationwide campaign: “No gender discrimination, no gender selection before birth”.

Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Le Ba Trinh said population policies and family planning were part of the VFF campaign “All people unite to build cultural life in residential areas” in which Buddhist dignitaries have played a significant role.

According to the Health Ministry, birth gender imbalance is prevalent in 30 out of 63 cities and provinces nationwide, mostly in Hung Yen, Hai Duong, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Nam Dinh.

Explaining preference for baby boys over girls, acting chief representative of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam Ritsu Nacken said the trend was deeply rooted in Asian societies, where women often had the duty to give birth and attend to their families while men carried on the family line.

Without interceptive measures, by 2050 an estimated 2.3 to 4.3 million men in Vietnam will not be able to find women to marry, she said.

At the event, participants suggested fine-tuning legal regulations on gender equality. They also spoke about raising public awareness about women’s and girls’ values in the family and community, abortion as an immoral means of pre-natal sex selection, and the equal role of men and women, through Buddhism sermons.

The event was hosted by the VFF Central Committee and the UNFPA.