VietNamNet Bridge – The General Department of Population and Family Planning has proposed a VND3,000 billion ($150 million) project to reduce gender imbalance at birth. Part of the funding is to support the families with two daughters.
The project has been submitted to the Prime Minister for consideration and sent to ministries for consultation.
Under the scheme, the families having only female children will be provided with cash assistance. These girls will be exempted or reduced from tuition, given with priority in the university entrance exams, favorable conditions to get job, etc…
Dr. Duong Quoc Trong, General Director of the General Department of Population and Family Planning, says that VND3,000 billion is a large amount, but facing many threats such as social crisis, national security caused by “redundancy of men, shortage of women,” the funding is necessary.
Working out a plan to reduce gender imbalances at birth at this time is too late? The Ministry of Health has set up the General Department of Population and Family Planning but what has this agency done so far.
Since 1997, a draft on the sanctions over the acts causing gender imbalance has not yet issued. A series of proposals, such as giving a warning or imposing a fine of VND500,000 – VND1,000,000 ($25-50) on the acts of offending those who have only daughters; imposing fines of up to VND2 million ($100) on the people who entice pregnant women to remove the fetus due to sex selection … are still only on paper.
Even the ban of ultrasound diagnosis of gender has not been implemented seriously.
In a recent workshop, Ms. Nguyen Thi Kha, a member of the National Assembly’s Committee of Social Issues, said that many people have taken advantage of technology to select the sex of fetus and will remove if the fetus is confirmed as a baby girl.
Notably, in Vietnam, the diagnosis of fetal sex is strictly prohibited, but over 90% of pregnant women know the sex of their child before birth. Health workers are willing to dodge the law by using “slang” to inform pregnant women about the sex of their babies, such as: “The fetus is the same with her mother”, “strong”, “gentle”…
So far, the General Department of Population and Family Planning has not punished any clinic for violating the above provision.
In addition, the Ministry of Health cannot prevent the circulation of books guiding how to have children as desire.
Obviously, the lesson of gender imbalance was seen in countries such as China, India … from many years ago, but Vietnam did not take action early.
Until the gender imbalance became alarming, the General Department of Population and Family Planning did not hesitate to make a statement that: Without drastic solutions, in the next 20-30 years, Vietnam will have a “surplus” of 2.3 to 4.3 million men.
If the Ministry of Health could foresee this, it would have not needed a VND3 trillion project at this difficult time.