Gender-biased sex selection (GBSS) in favor of boys is an indicator of gender discrimination and highlights the inequality towards girls throughout many countries. Patriarchal structures reinforce a preference for sons and perpetuate a societal climate of violence and discrimination against women and girls. GBSS is moreover a symptom of the pervasive social, political, cultural, and economic injustices against women and girls. While, declining rates of fertility, and rapid technological developments that allow prenatal sex selection, have also further exacerbated these practices.
Since its independence from the Soviet Union, Georgia has experienced a significant rise in the number of male births over girls. A comprehensive countrywide report (2017), produced by UNFPA Georgia alongside the National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat), reveals that after reaching historically high levels in 2004 (115 boys per 100 girls), the sex ratio at birth (SRB) started to decline. This is certainly a positive direction towards greater gender equality, however, due to the notable preference for sons, most families in Georgia still wish to have at least one male child.
The strategic direction of advocacy, media, and communication to prevent gender-biased sex selection should focus on the main drivers of this phenomenon; mainly social structures that motivate families to invest in sons, rather than daughters, further undervaluing girls and their potential contribution to household welfare. In order to understand, plan, and implement successful communication and advocacy initiatives that prevent gender-biased sex selection and son preference in Georgia, this strategic framework and toolkit act as an informative guide for the various stakeholders, including but not limited to civil society organizations; communication professionals; advocates and educators; national and local governmental structures; and the media.