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“My Dear Unwanted”: Media Discourse on Sex-selective Abortion in Montenegro

Lecture
Jovana Davidovic
Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 12:40 pm – 2:10 pm

Beliefs based on patriarchy have different manifestations, from gender-insensitive language to discriminatory and prejudiced behavior. While consequences of patriarchy are observable and well-studied, less attention is dedicated to the background of patriarchal beliefs and to actors that contribute to their development or suppression. The present research addresses this gap with the following research questions: Which individuals are prone to patriarchal beliefs? How does media contribute to reinforcement or restrainment of patriarchy? How does media report about cases that reflect discrimination and prejudices towards women?

This talk will investigate these research questions through the issue of sex-selective abortion (SSA) which presents a specific strategy to sex select through the intentional elimination of female foetuses (Anitha and Gill 2018,4). Sex imbalance at birth resulted in serious demographic distortions, thus becoming one of the most important causes of ’missing girls’ globally (Sen 2003), together with the excess mortality (Bongaarts and Guilmoto 2015).

The current study investigates the media discourse on SSA in Montenegro, the country that is placed among leading countries in the world with significantly distorted sex ratio at birth (Chao et al, 2019; Guilmoto, 2015; IPR, 2014; UNFPA 2012). This research aims to discover patterns in public presentation of women, and point to the crucial role the media have in disseminating reliable and balanced information on significant and worrisome tendencies, such as SSA.