Increasing the Role of Medical Professionals for Preventing Gender-biased Sex Selection Harmful Practice in Georgia

18 October 2017

On October 18, 2017, United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) organized Roundtable Discussion on the topic of – Increasing the Role of Medical Professionals for Preventing Gender-biased Sex Selection Harmful Practice in Georgia

The meeting was attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health, leadership and representatives of the relevant Medical Associations and Societies, heads of the clinics and hospitals, radiologists, obstetrician-gynecologists, Family Doctors, etc.

The meeting aimed to equip participants with the information and findings of the recent research on SRB trends in Georgia and its contextual dimensions, such as son preference, gender inequality, and availability and access to modern diagnostic technologies to initiate the dialogue among professionals on elaboration of the recommendation/guideline regarding the responsible use of technologies, and counselling of future parents on this issue.

In the countries, where gender-biased sex selection harmful practice is widespread, the sex ratios at birth (SRB) are skewed in favor of boys, having negative social and demographic consequences. Patriarchal structures reinforce son preference and perpetuate a climate of violence and discrimination against women and girls in society. Declining fertility and rapid developments in the technology that allows parents to know the sex of the fetus have exacerbated this practice. Gender-biased sex selection in favor of boys is a symptom of pervasive social, cultural, political and economic injustices against girls and women and speak of a culture in which gender inequality is deeply rooted.

According to surveys, if a family choses to have one child, 46% of the respondents prefer the child to be a boy, the sex of a child is unimportant for 45 % and just 9 % would like to have a baby girl. For the period of 2010-2014 the sex ratio at birth in Georgia was 100 to 109 on average, and according to the statistics the downward trend is being observed. Though the SRB considerably increases with birth parity and in case of the third child or higher parity, it reaches 100/140.

In light of the downward trend of the SRB in Georgia, strengthening the preventive measures is critical to encourage and sustain this trend. In this regard, sensitization and increased engagement of healthcare providers, as well as their proper communication and counseling with future parents is of particular importance for prevention of this harmful practice.

The meeting was organized in the framework of United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) Global Programme to Prevent Son Preference and Undervaluing of Girls in Georgia, Funded by the EU.