Son still preferred over daughter

Namrata Devikar
Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Pune: While people in the country went gaga over changing their social media profile pictures to show 'Meri Beti Mera Abhimaan' (my daughter my pride), a whopping 32 per cent women in Maharashtra, who are mothers to two daughters already, want to have more children in order to have a son in the family. 

The National Family Health Survey - 4 (NFHS-4) states that even today, women's desire for more children is strongly affected by their current number of sons.

Pune: While people in the country went gaga over changing their social media profile pictures to show 'Meri Beti Mera Abhimaan' (my daughter my pride), a whopping 32 per cent women in Maharashtra, who are mothers to two daughters already, want to have more children in order to have a son in the family. 

The National Family Health Survey - 4 (NFHS-4) states that even today, women's desire for more children is strongly affected by their current number of sons.

Around 6 per cent women with two sons want to have another child and 8 per cent with one son want to have more children. 

Social factors
Speaking to Sakal Times, Shruti Tambe, Head of Sociology Department, Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), said that two important factors affect the thinking process of people.

“One is the growing inequality and discrimination in society and the other is growing social and economic insecurity. When social and economic insecurity grows, people's sentiments want to go back to the religious and cultural beliefs from history. And in the past, the preference was always given to sons over daughters,” said Tambe. 

Wealth Index
The survey also takes into account the background characteristics of those who participated. 

One might feel that the son or daughter preference might change as we go up the economic ladder, however, even women and men from well-to-do families give preference to sons over daughter, shows the survey.

The NFHS-4 defines wealth index based on households, which score on the basis of the number and kinds of consumer goods they own, ranging from a television to a bicycle or car. The housing characteristics such as the source of drinking water, toilet facilities and flooring materials are also used in assessment and defining the wealth index.

Under this, the lowest, second, middle, fourth and highest are defined where the highest is for the richest and the lowest is for the poorest. 

Preference for sons
The percentage preference among women for more daughters in wealth indices is 2.4, 3, 3.6, 4 and 4.1 respectively. 

Preference for a son goes up in double digits, with 30.3 per cent women in the lowest index, 22 in second, 17.2 in middle, 14.8 in fourth and 11.9 in highest index wanting a son.

Among men, the graph for their desire for a son goes down from 28.1 per cent in the lowest category to 13.6 per cent in the highest index. Sadly, only 3 to 3.8 per cent men across all categories want more daughters in their family. 

Even elite prefer sons 
One might feel that the son or daughter preference might change as we go up the economic ladder, however, for women and men even from well-to-do families, the preference is given to sons over daughter, shows the survey.

Shocking Stats
* Percentage of those wanting more sons than daughters

Maharashtra
11.1 % women 
14.5 % men 

Country-wide
18.8% women 
18.7 % men

* Percentage of those wanting more daughters than sons
4-5 %: Maharashtra
3.5%: Country-wide 

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