tirsdag 17. mai 2022

India's preference for sons over daughters remains

A new Indian government survey shows that there have been improvements in the country's sex ratio, but an overwhelming majority still desires a male child, writes the BBC's Shadab Nazmi in Delhi. Nearly 80% of those surveyed said they wanted at least one son in their lifetime, according to the latest figures from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), the most comprehensive household survey of Indian society by the government.

This preference for sons over daughters - described as "son preference" - is rooted in the traditional belief that a male child would carry forward the family name and look after the parents in their old age, while daughters would leave them for their matrimonial homes and cost them dowries. Campaigners say this has resulted in a sex ratio that is heavily skewed in favour of men and has long been India's shame.

Over 100 years, the census has shown that there have been more men in India than women. According to the last census in 2011, there were 940 women for every 1,000 men and the child sex ratio [which counts children from birth to six years] was at 918 girls for 1,000 boys. This has led critics to name India "a country of missing women".