Traditional baby gender bias declines to 16-year low in ’11

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–The traditional baby gender bias favoring boys over girls continued improving in 2011, with the gender discrepancy hitting its lowest level in 16 years, according to the Bureau of Health Promotion (BHP). Chiu Shu-ti, director-general of the BHP under the Department of Health, said yesterday that the childbirth ratio of boys to girls dropped to 1.079 last year. The figure places Taiwan at No. 12 in the world in terms of baby gender bias, down from the 3rd spot registered in 2003. Following increased public education and changes in people’s thinking, the ratio for the families’ third babies born also fell to its lowest level in 18 years with 1.134 boys born versus girls.

Chiu said that the ingrained traditional concept of favoring baby boys over girls has changed also because of the government’s promoting gender equality and close monitoring of childbirths at hospitals. Health officials at local-level governments often take action to gain further understanding when lopsided gender birth ratios occur at some districts or hospitals, Chiu said. She said parents should cherish all newborns because every one of them is unique and adorable, regardless of its gender. Some analysts said families had maintained traditional gender preferences for boys and discrimination against girls mainly because they needed more farm hands to work on the land for food. But more people in Taiwan have now abandoned the tradition because they can engage in various livelihoods outside the agricultural sector, they said.