Mechanisms behind the Skewed Sex Ratio at Birth in Azerbaijan

Qualitative and Quantitative Analyses

No. of pages: 78

Publication date: 01 January 2014

Author: UNFPA

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It was not until early 1990s when the Nobel Prize winning Indian economist Amartya Sen first introduced the concept of “missing women” thus sparking series of decades-long debates and studies to explore the trends in gender bias in mortality among the population in Asia. The phenomenon included the widespread instances of gender biased sex selection aimed at ensuring the birth of a male offspring to satisfy the traditional patriarchal aspirations of local communities.

While for a long while it was believed that these practices were solely restricted to such countries as China and India, the PACE Resolution 1829 (2011) on prenatal sex selection targeted other countries too including the Republic of Azerbaijan where the skewed ratios at birth have“ reached worrying proportions.” Such a ratio of male to female population is an alarming indicator and the outnumbering is believed to be caused by some form of external intervention. The available research shows that similar imbalance could theoretically be due to series of factors inclusive of under-enumeration, series of biological factors, or deliberate action in the form of sex selection abortion.

The qualitative and quantitative assessment of the skewed sex ratio in Azerbaijani population undertaken by UNFPA Azerbaijan CO in close cooperation with the State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Affairs represents the first initiative exclusively dedicated to exploration of mechanisms behind this phenomenon. It is expected that the findings of this research will enormously contribute to strengthening respective advocacy strategies with the Government partners, civil society and other allies to address the problem of the skewed sex ratios in Azerbaijani population.