Parental Perceptions on Son Preference: A Qualitative Study in a Slum Community in South India

Sathya T , Post Doctoral Fellow

Introduction: Son preference refers to an attitude found on the belief that girls are inadequate and of lesser value than boys. As a major form of gender discrimination, it can give way to an array of practices harmful to girls and women. Background: Son preference has been found to be the primary cause for increasing the unwanted fertility level of any country or region. The nature and levels of son preference depends upon the different values of children that the parents attach on male children and female children resulted through traditional believes and practices of the society in which they are living. The existence or level of son preference differs among communities of villages, towns/cities and slums based on their socio-economic and cultural characteristics. Objective: This study makes an attempt to understand the perceptions of urban slum community parents on sons as compared to daughters. Methods: Qualitative research tool on 15 case studies and 4 focus group discussion with having daughter only family, having son only family and both children having family at Chennai slum. Result: Though son preference is still prevailing in urban slum community, a change in the perception of parents towards girl’s education is visible. Many parents also consider girls/daughters as assets. Even though daughters value is also increasing slowly and parental perception is changing towards daughters because some of the daughters are earning a salary and contribute to family expenses.

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 Presented in Session 121. Sex-Selection at Birth