It’s not a country for females

Erik Messori


Montenegro, known as the “Pearl of the Balkans”, is the youngest country in Europe but its history and culture have deep roots. There is such a strong traditional priority on continuing the family line by conceiving a male child that it becomes almost an obligation for a young couple to have a male child, preferably the firstborn. These customs have been handed down from generation to generation and are difficult to eradicate. Selective abortion, choosing to continue a pregnancy only if the unborn child is male, is a relatively recent practice but it has deep roots. It is mainly referred to as “female selective abortion” since the unborn child suffers this discrimination. If the practice continues Montenegro, which has a population of just over 620,000, will have 10,000 to 12,000 more men than women by 2025, even though womens’ longer life expectancies mean there are normally more women than men in a national population. Pregnant women in Montenegro often undertake a prenatal test to determine the gender of thier babies. Such tests can be obtained for 350 Euros and do not even require the involvement of a gynaecologist. Many mothers go to Serbia to avoid any bureaucratic restrictions. The cultural pressure to give birth to a male leads many women to abort female babies. This practice has long been an open secret in Montenegro but it is now being called out publicly by the Women’s Rights Center, which has launched a campaign called “Unwanted”.


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