Child Gender Preference – India

In recent past I have read news articles wherein gender ratio is linked to patriarchal societies. This seems to give an impression that patriarchy is a reason for lower gender ratios in states such as UP, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. Let us delve deeper into  the preference of married persons for the gender of their child in these so called patriarchal societies.

Married persons (age 15-49 yrs) who want more Sons than Daughters – %










Uttar Pradesh



Madhya Pradesh





















Further, for Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Jharkhand more men want daughters than sons as compared to women.

The above data shows that in the so called patriarchal societies of India it is the womenfolk who prefer sons over daughters as compared to men, and that too over a wide margin. The lower gender ratio in these states could be due to this preference of womenfolk. It would be great to know how come this gender preference of women be related to patriarchy, as claimed…


Date Source: MoHFW_National Family Health Survey, 2005-2006, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi_2007

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7 Responses to Child Gender Preference – India

  1. Sonali Choudhary says:

    I would again like to say that this result is because of Patriarchal Society. Women in this society, are still not in very strong position. I am not talking about every women. But yeah! Women are still facing discrimination on the basis of their sex. So, they certainly don’t want their daughters to get same pathetic life. I have heard many women saying that as per my knowledge. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  2. Sonali Choudhary says:

    First of all, I have above concluded because of the reaction I have got from people. I had seen 15 days old daughter left by her mother under the bush and had also seen two ladies fighting to get that baby’s adoption.

    I am not talking about all the women in the society that I have mentioned above also. These results also depend on the status and mind-set of the people which comes with their educational qualifications and financial conditions. We need to think about all the situations people are facing for such serious issues.

    Moreover, these are two different thoughts of two different people like you and me. So, there is no way I am trying to be rude with you Burt Phoenix.


    • Burt Phoenix says:

      Sonali, your conclusion is based on a very small sample of people (ie. 3 in this case) and is a classic example of a Representativeness Bias.

      Further, also contemplate if your analysis has traces of Confirmation Bias, wherein people favour information that confirms to their hypothesis and discard contrary information. The hypothesis presented by you has completely contrary information / data available.

      It would be great to know what situations are you talking about where empowered people act in this way.

      Lastly, my articles are not thoughts but backed by data which is collected by reputed agencies.

  3. ouroborosidiots says:

    Call it patriarchy or any other random word, but it really is a fact that a lot of families in these villages expect their sons to take care of them when they are older, while a daughter is married off(at a huge expenditure) and sent away to stay with her husband.

    Also preferences are different from economic realities. Preferences are worth squat if the economics won’t support it. For a lot of families in (t)here, a girl child usually represents a huge economic burden, while a boy represents a potential investment – who would bring home money in one way or another, and at least takes care of them in their old age.

    Again, this is just from talking to a few of these people about their mindsets, and isn’t backed by any concrete data. I am open to any criticism to this theory.

    • Burt Phoenix says:

      Interesting theory, but you are mixing two discrete discussions here, one of economic reality and the other gender preference of parents. As per the hard data, it is seen that more fathers prefer a girl child as compared to mothers, which clearly busts the ideology that patriarchy is at play here.

      Now coming to the economic reality part, you have a raised a point that families expect their sons to take care of them. Is this not primarily because how our laws are structured? Grown up sons are only liable to take care of their parents and grandparents. Daughters donot have such a liability, please refer to section 125 of CrPC for mode details. No wonder, it it primarily boys who are forced to work at an early age as evident from the child labour stats.

      As per your theory, a question you need to ask yourself is why do families find girl child an economic burden? Is it because they are going out of the Labour Force on their own free will? You Decide …

      • ouroborosidiots says:

        lol, it looks like you have been listening to too many crazy feminists lately and assume all men are evil who only want sons and all mothers are angels/poor victims. That’s not what Patriarchy is about. It is just about the division of labor and who is the primary breadwinner for family – the functional unit of society. Sure it has deeper repercussions. But no body is inherently evil even if it is a patriarchy.

        And don’t get me wrong on this. Every myopic “women friendly” acts these stupid politicians and feminists pushed for hurt both men and women.

        Overzealous one sided sexual harassment laws? People think twice before hiring women now.

        The creepy domestic violence laws? hurt so many families. Hurt so many “other women” too (in laws etc…) Any woman who used those laws? Can never get married.

        Relieving women of responsibilities? It affects their marriages. It affects their employability. And even creepier things like female infanticides and what not.

        That’s the interesting thing about man-woman thing I see. If you are screwing with one side, the other side is screwed too.

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