Caring for Equality: Ending prenatal sex selection in Armenia

Mencare Blog 2Prenatal sex selection – choosing to continue or terminate a pregnancy based on the baby’s sex – is a blatant form of gender-based violence. In Armenia, inequalities that contribute to this practice often persist in the home: in these cases, sons may be viewed as assets in the household, and daughters considered liabilities. To prevent this harmful practice and to promote greater gender equality, World Vision Armenia, Equimundo, and MenCare recently launched a manual to work with youth and couples to critically examine and transform underlying social norms that contribute to prenatal sex selection.

Entitled Caring for Equality, the manual’s goal is to contribute to the prevention of prenatal sex selection in Armenian families and communities by engaging couples and young men and women, ages 14 to 18, in activities that address the underlying roots of this practice. The curriculum is designed for use by facilitators and peer educators in group-education sessions, and it covers topics that include gender and power dynamics, caregiving and shared household decision-making, and prevention of gender-based violence – including prenatal sex selection. The manual also outlines ten adaptable steps to design and launch a community mobilization campaign to help guide participants in transforming harmful gender norms in their communities.

Breaking down harmful stereotypes around masculinity is beneficial to both men and women, and it can stop the cycle of gender-based violence. By creating safe spaces for cross-gender dialogue to challenge traditional gender norms and to understand the inherent equality of boys and girls – and the value of girl children in particular, the manual encourages both men and women to become active parents who participate in creating gender-equal households and communities.

This post was originally published by Equimundo, MenCare’s co-coordinator.