Under normal circumstances, more boys than girls are born in nature to compensate for the higher mortality of males; the expected “natural order” ratio is considered 105 males for every 100 females born. According to UN estimates, the sex ratio at birth (SRB) has persisted at its natural level of 105 male per 100 female newborns for the past half century in Bangladesh. Generally, the SRB becomes skewed in a setting where fertility is declining or low and where son preference exists. Strong son preference compounded by the availability of measures to implement such preference can lead to increased SRB. For example, the increasing availability of prenatal diagnostic technologies, together with declining fertility desires and persistent son preference, has contributed to increased gender-biased sex selection in several Asian countries, including China and India. As Bangladesh experiences rapid decline in fertility to reach replacement-level fertility, it is critical to unmask the mystery behind its SRB. However, there is an absence of intensive studies and an inadequacy of data focusing on SRB in Bangladesh. This literature review analyses Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data to understand the dynamics of SRB in Bangladesh. The study also examines the efforts that have contributed to closing the gender gap in social and economic opportunities and raising the value of girls and women.
Noorunnabi Talukder, M.; Ubaidur Rob; Forhana Rahman Noor. Assessment of Sex Selection in Bangladesh. Population Council, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2014) xi + 39 pp.