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Gender - Biased Sex Selection

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Presentation by Tamta Maridashvili at Development Day 2018 – Gender Equality and Economic Development: From Research to Action. This year conference was focused on existing constraints and also highlighted initiatives that could help to create an equal society.

More about the conference and research in transition economics can be found on SITE’s website: https://www.hhs.se/site

Published in: Economy & Finance
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Gender - Biased Sex Selection

  1. 1. Tamta Maridashvili Stockholm, 2018 Gender-Biased Sex Selection The Case of Georgia
  2. 2. THE WAYS TO SELECT SEX — Sex Selection can take place before pregnancy, prenatally, following birth or through stopping behavior — The most prevalent ways to select sex are abortion and stopping behavior — The result is a rise of sex ratio at birth (SRB) — The natural norm of SRB is 105 male births per 100 female births
  3. 3. GENDER-BIASED SEX SELECTION — Rarely a topic of discussion until the 1990s — In the 1990s, it turned out that certain regions such as Asia, south-east Europe and the countries of the South Caucasus suffered from the malpractice of gender biased sex selection — Country experiences: the root causes, determinants and consequences seem to be similar
  4. 4. OUR FOCUS: GEORGIA — A unique experience: from one of the highest sex ratios at birth in the world back to normal levels after 26 years — Desk research mostly based on UNFPA studies: — Trends — Root causes and determinants of biased sex selection — Its consequences — A quantitative study is planned with the purpose of formulating targeted policy recommendations
  5. 5. ESTIMATED SEX RATIO AT BIRTH, 1990-2016 102 104 106 108 110 112 114 116 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 AverageSexRatioatBirth(malebirthstofemalebirths) Source: UNFPA 2017
  6. 6. VARIATIONS IN SEX RATIO AT BIRTH Gender composition Birth order Total Source 1 2 3+ At least one previous son ― 104.1 106.9 105.1 Census-based estimates No previous son 107.2 108.1 173.8 110.9 Census-based estimates Sex ratio at birth by parity and gender composition, 2010-2014 Source: UNFPA 2017 — Variations across the regions — Variation connected to ethnicity
  7. 7. THE ROOT CAUSE — Preference for male heirs: — Labor division in society according to ecological conditions – plough agriculture (Korotayev, 2003) — Men – the main contributors to the family Result: patrilocal and patrilineal family structure Daughters – a mere cost (education, health and dowry) (Araviashvili, 2015)
  8. 8. PERSISTENCE OF THE SOCIAL NORM — In 82 per cent of multigenerational families in Georgia, spouses live with the husband’s parents - a current pattern similar to the 2002 figures — According to the Caucasus Barometer 2010 survey, in cases where parents had only one child, 46 per cent of respondents preferred a son, 9 per cent preferred a girl, and 45 per cent said it did not matter.
  9. 9. THE DETERMINANTS — Post-Soviet period hardships: — Family as a safety net — Fertility rates decreased — The arrival of technologies for the early determination of sex
  10. 10. THE CONSEQUENCES — The cohort of women of reproductive age has been gradually decreasing (UNFPA, 2015) — Male marriage squeeze – potential grooms exceed potential brides (UNFPA, 2012) — Pressure on women to produce a son leading to domestic violence, abandonment or divorce
  11. 11. POTENTIAL FACTORS BEHIND THE DECREASE OF SRB — The strengthening of state institutions and social security system — a) universal pension system, which provides a flat rate benefit to all elderly- above the subsistence minimum; b) social assistance, which represents a monthly subsidy to poor families and c) a universal health insurance system — Increased role of a religious institutions.In 2016 Patriarch particularly stigmatized abortion as “a terrible sin” and initiated the idea of its abolition.According to the last (2014) census, 83.4% of the Georgian population is Orthodox and Church is the most trustworthy institution in the nation. — New cultural influences from theWest
  12. 12. WHAT WE PLAN TO DO — Track the variation of son preference in families (since 2004) based on — Individual characteristics of parents (age, ethnicity, education, employment status, etc.) — Family characteristics (income, different social types of assistance received, remittances received, household composition, etc.) — Geographical location (urban/rural, local economic conditions: level of unemployment, economic growth, aggregate participation of women in the labor force, etc.) — Apart from these variables, in order to measure the impact of the change in social economic policy on son preference, specific institutional changes will be captured by using specific (time varying) dummy variables to capture possible structural breaks

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