Sat, Mar 23, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Gender ratio points to reduced discrimination: official

Staff writer, with CNA

The nation’s gender ratio at birth narrowed last year to 1.074 —indicating that 1.074 boys were born for every girl — from 1.102 in 2003, thanks in part to a government policy aimed at reducing discrimination against women and girls, a health official said.

Taiwan has traditionally been a male-dominated society, illustrated by the at-birth gender ratio in 2003 — which at the time was the third-highest in the world, said Chen Li-chuan (陳麗娟), a division head at the Bureau of Health Promotion, citing World Factbook data from the Web site of the US’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The nation’s global ranking dropped to 15th last year, Chen said, an improvement she attributed to government measures aimed at eliminating gender discrimination and lowering the social impact caused by an unbalanced gender ratio.

The measures included monitoring births, cracking down on illegal commercials promoting banned gender screening and therapies targeted at women who wished to give birth to a boy, and promoting gender equality, she said.

As a result the nation has seen not only an increase in the total number of births — up from 166,473 in 2010 to 234,575 last year — but also its most balanced gender ratio in 25 years, she said, adding that the expected range of a country’s gender ratio falls between 1.02 and 1.06.

Last year, the gender ratio in China stood at 1.133, with ratios of 1.117 in Vietnam, 1.120 in India, 1.077 in Singapore and 1.075 in Hong Kong, Chen added.

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