Men’s desire for sons boosts births

Dissemination of gender equality information remains the most important tool to minimising the gender imbalance and soaring growth of the population, according to the director of the Population and Family Planning General Department Nguyen Ba Thuy.

During the first half of the year, about 10 per cent of the 365,500 new babies born were the third child in a family, a 4 per cent rise from the same period last year.

"The rise was attributed to men’s desires to have sons, leading population and family planning officials to focusing o­n changing this backward mindset," said Thuy.

Provincial and city people’s committees had provided VND50 billion (US$2.7 million) for family planning and gender equality information dissemination programmes in the first six months of the year, 24 per cent higher than the same period last year.

"Ha Noi has invested more than VND2 billion ($111,100) in rebuilding 29 district-level population and family planning centres in order to provide more gender equity consulting and to offer more services to mothers and children," said Hoang Dieu Hien, deputy head of the Ha Noi Population and Family Planning Division.

"Schools have begun to address the law o­n gender equality and information has been disseminated in offices to provide basic knowledge to everyone about this issue," said Hien.

Hau Giang Province in the south could serve as a success story for raising awareness, as 45 per cent of married men with two children had voluntarily been sterilised, said Le Thi Thanh Huong, deputy head of Hau Giang Province’s Population and Family Planning Division.

Traditional views

"Because of my traditional views, I felt incomplete without a son, and after having two daughters I still insisted o­n forcing my wife to have a third child," said Nguyen Ngoc Thanh, 34, in Hau Giang province’s Chau Thanh A district.

"However, officials at the population and family planning division explained my backwards mind set to me and said that my family would suffer even greater poverty if we had more children," said Thanh.

Along with delivering the correct information about gender equality, the general department and the Ministry of Information and Communications recently completed a o­ne-month inspection of all websites and publishing houses in Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Thanh Hoa and HCM City.

"Many books, newspapers and the internet have printed information o­n prenatal gender selection, a violation of the State’s population policy o­n minimising the practice, so the ministry should direct inspectors to rectify the situation," said Thuy.

"The Thanh Hoa, Thanh Nien and Culture-Information publishing houses were determined to be the biggest violators, with six books o­n the subject," said Nguyen Dinh Bach, deputy chief inspector of the general department.

"About 30,200 of these books have been confiscated and incinerated," said Bach.

"In addition, multiple o­nline articles guiding the practice were posted o­n the websites, vietnamnet, dantri, camnanggiadinh and thaythuoccuaban, and requests have been sent for their deletion," said Bach.

"I used to be a fan of guide books o­n how to have a boy instead of a girl. Although I followed the methods in the books, it proved useless. Many other women have kept their belief in these guides, so it is necessary for relevant authorities to strictly manage the publishing of these books," said Mai Thu Uyen, 37, in Ha Noi.

"While family planning authorities have managed to find ways to decrease the growing gender imbalance with about 100 girls born for every 112 boys, these products negatively affect this success," said Thuy.

"Publishing houses and websites with their first violations o­nly receive administrative punishment. However, State management o­n books or o­nline articles related to population and family planning will be boosted in near future," said Bach.

Hospitals and clinics have also been ordered not to use high-technology to diagnose and define the gender of children. Later this month, health inspectors will conduct inspections to prevent prenatal selection violations.


VietNamNet/Viet Nam News