Armenia has one of the world’s highest rates of gender-biased sex selection (GBSS) – preventing the birth of a child of the ‘undesirable’ gender. Girls are literally missing from families, classrooms and communities. Over the past seven years, an estimated 4,000 girls who would have been born in Armenia were not, due to a persistent preference for sons. That represents 4,000 losses – of life, of opportunities, and of potential.
But things may be starting to change. Mkrtich Hovhannisyan, from Gavar, and Harutyun Darbinyan, from Yerevan, are both the proud fathers of four daughters. They share a strong belief that a child is a child, and have ignored pressures to boost their chances of having sons. Both men know that these pressures can be relentless.