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Armenia Tries to Reduce Sex Imbalance

Recent trends show the country might be on the way toward improving an alarming sex ratio imbalance among newborns.

11 October 2017

In the first half of 2017, the sex ratio among newborns in Armenia fell sharply to 111 boys for every 100 girls, according to The Financial Times. That might still seem high, but the figure represents a huge drop-off from the heights of the 2000s, when the figure was an astronomical 120 to 100.


Sex-selective abortions have figured heavily in generating those figures, as many parents have turned to such methods as a way of modeling their families in line with social stereotypes – driven by traditional patriarchal values and the progress of ultrasound technology. 


“I prefer boys. The opportunities for women are very limited,” an Armenian mother with two daughters told the FT. “Our community loves boys more. They continue the blood line. They keep the hearth burning.”


According to figures cited by NewsDeeply’s Women & Girls Hub, Armenia now trails only behind China and Azerbaijan in the highest rates of female fetus abortions in the world.


In recent years, Armenia has, however, taken several steps to increase the proportion of female births. These included a ban on sex-selective abortion passed in 2016, as well as various projects, such as one sponsored by the European Union, which aim to alter the attitude of Armenian society toward the idea of having a girl.


Advocates believe that the measures taken in Armenia will ease the stress experienced by pregnant women in the future.


“We need more work in overcoming the inequality between the values [placed on] girl and boy children. This would be key to defeating this bitter practice,” Garik Hayrapetyan, head of the local branch of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), told the Women & Girls Hub in April. “We still have a long way to go, but we are definitely on the right track.”



  • In May 2013, UNFPA reported that the skewed sex-at-birth pattern in Armenia has emerged in the early 1990s. The natural ratio, meaning without human interference, is about 103 to 106 boys to 100 girls.


  • The figures in Armenia have raised concerns over a generation with “missing girls,” a term initially used by Indian economist Amartya Sen in 1990.

Compiled by Peter Georgiev

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