Sex ratio is the number of women to men within a population. With little to no outside interference, this ratio is naturally equal (or very close to equal) at 1:1, or 1 male for every female birth. Yet, in some countries, the sex ratio is not even close to equal and presents drastically low numbers for females. An imbalance between the sexes is caused by many things including war, gender-selective abortions, and mass migration. As a result, the society with gender imbalance will face future issues with marriage trends, fertility rates, and a large population of single men. Many countries in the Middle East are currently facing this problem. Below is a list of the countries with the lowest percentage of women in the population.
Countries with the Lowest Percentage of Women in the Population
United Arab Emirates
The country with the lowest percentage of women in the world is the United Arab Emirates with only 26.7%. The reason for this imbalance is that the UAE is home to Dubai, the most cosmopolitan city in the world. But, the cultural diversity here from the large influx of immigrants is skewed toward one gender. The majority of these immigrants to the UAE are men because the jobs that are available are male dominated.
Second, on the list is Qatar where only 27.4% of the population is female. The gender imbalance here is caused by the same reason as in the UAE. The large gas industry here attracts many young, unmarried men to the region for work. In addition, immigration laws in Qatar are more strict for women applying for work visas, so their applications are not encouraged and often declined.
Other Middle Eastern Countries
Other Middle Eastern countries with low numbers of females are Oman with a 33.7% female population, Bahrain with only 38%, Saudi Arabia with 43.5%, and Kuwait with 43.8%. Research indicates that countries with a higher proportion of men to women experience more violence, acts of insurgency, crimes of all kinds, and violence against women.
Bhutan and India
The next countries on the list are located in Asia. Bhutan has a 46.3% female population. India reports that 48.2% of the population is female. This imbalance has been attributed to a cultural preference for boys and increased technology that can determine the baby’s sex before birth. As a result, people have been turning to sex-selected abortions to ensure they only give birth to sons. Sons are important in these societies because they inherit land, pass on the family name, and take care of parents in old age.
Malaysia and Saudi Arabia are also on the list though their gender ratio is closer to normal. Both of these countries have a female population of 48.4%.
What Can Governments Do?
If governments want to avoid the societal problems that come with gender imbalances they need to take a look at and overhaul their policies. In the Middle Eastern countries, for example, simply contracting more females into the workforce and approving their work visas could help to neutralize the situation. In Asian countries where infanticide is taking place, governments need to focus on prenatal preventative measures. Policies that prohibit sex screening and focus on female child health are crucial to attempt to correct the low percentage of women in the society. All the countries enlisted need policies that promote women’s equality in education, the workforce, and at home. Public education that places value on women would do much to change the societal views of these countries. If it weren’t for cultural inequality of women, the preference for males (whether by birth or as employees) would not have occurred, and these countries would not be facing the problems of gender imbalances that they have today.