A one-month campaign to raise awareness about the causes and consequences of gender-biased sex selection kicked off in Hanoi on September 23.

The nationwide campaign consists of a series of workshops, policy dialogues and parades in Hanoi, and Hai Duong and Bac Ninh provinces. There will also be a social media campaign calling on the government and all stakeholders to join hands to end gender-biased sex selection.

The initiative, which marks International Day for Girls on October 11, was launched by the General Office for Population and Family Planning (GOPFP) and the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, the sex ratio at birth rose from 106.2 boys per 100 girls in 2000 to 113.8 boys per 100 girls in 2013, a sharp trend that is expected to continue. If no interventions are undertaken, it is estimated that by 2050, Vietnam will have a surplus of 2.3 to 4.3 million men who will not be able to find wives.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien said Vietnam had undertaken a number of measures to halt the increasing imbalance.

"However, renewed and concerted efforts are now needed to address the deeply rooted gender discrimination against women and girls which lies at the heart of sex selection," he said.

UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Arthur Erken said that it was also important to address the broader context of gender inequality.

"When women and girls have equal access to health care, education, and job opportunities as men and boys do, then they can do what men and boys are expected to do. Women alone cannot address the issue; it must be done in partnership. Young men and boys must be encouraged to step forward as agents of necessary social and cultural change," he said.-VNA