A boy is OK, a girl is NOT

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The discrimination starts at the time of birth. Marriage in Azerbaijan, as sacred as it is in many other cultures of the world today, brings with it another set of responsibilities, but more so for the bride than the groom. The bride must give birth within the first year of family union, and heaven help her if it is not a boy. As harsh as it might sound, bearing a male newborn for a family is a matter of statute, not only for the father but also for the mother. Her mother-in-law and the other female members of her new extended family might leave her alone for a bit before pressuring her to have another child. It takes a lot of energy for a couple to defend a decision to delay having their first child until a while after the marriage. A lot depends on the families of the two young people and their openness to changes to the traditional notion of family in Azerbaijan.

It is unfortunate, however, that the first-born is often female. Pressure starts mounting on the young family to have the second baby soon, and preferably a male. And this is when the word “abortion” comes in. Statistically, the ratio of male to female births in Azerbaijan already gives reason for alarm.