The key finding of the literature is that the most effective strategies address social norms and beliefs, as well as providing technical solutions. Strategies need to take into account the specific drivers and expressions of sex selection in each context.
The effective interventions identified are:
- Restricting the use of sex-selection methods: Restricting technology and services, specifically those which help identify and terminate female foetuses (e.g. OCHR et al, 2011). This can, however, be harmful to women if social norms are not addressed: women may undertake clandestine, unregulated procedures instead (OCHR et al, 2011).
- Reproductive health services: Providing services covering family planning and reproductive health throughout women and men’s lifetimes (Li 2007).
- Media and advocacy: Using well-targeted media and other advocacy measures to address issues such as dowry, women’s education and women’s political participation (Joseph 2007; UNFPA 2011; Li 2007), while also preventing sex selection technologies from being publicised (UNFPA 2011).
- Judicial reform: Changing legislation to: allow women to own land, to inherit and to access employment and pensions (UNFPA 2011); and to prohibit or restrict the use of technology for sex selection (Gilles and Feldman-Jacobs 2012). In addition, prosecuting practitioners who undertake such measures (UNFPA 2011).
- Incentive-based schemes: Providing financial rewards for compliance with girls’ birth registration, school enrolment, immunisation, etc., with the goal of promoting long-term behaviour change towards girls and women (Sekher 2010).
- Baby refuges: Providing refuges, where parents can take unwanted female babies, to discourage infanticide (Srinivisan and Bedi 2010).
In addition, economic development, urbanisation, changes in employment and education can change norms and attitudes relating to girls (Chung and Das Gupta 2007).