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Gendered Version of Family Planning Choice in India: An Exploration Through the Changing Mechanisms of Son-Preference
Authors: Mukherjee Ritwika
Source: International Journal of Social Economics, Volume: 2 Issue: 1 Pages: 177-182
Topic(s): Gender
Country: Asia
Published: JAN 2012
Abstract: The present study econometrically seeks to enquire how and to what extent the role of son preference has been intensified in the present context of two child family norm as an outcome of desired sex preference towards children. The regional patterns of son preference have been captured through Child Sex Ratio (girls/1000 males) (1991–2011) and Sex Ratio at Birth from Census of India data. Family size preferences brought about by the sex distribution of families and the desired as well as ideal number of children at the regional scales has been worked through the NFHS III unit level data (2005–06). Results depict a dilution of the traditional north-south divide of son preference supported by the converging trend of Child Sex Ratio and Sex Ratio at Birth, a proxy of sex selective abortions. States that have attained replacement level fertility like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu seem to catch up with their Northern counterparts like Punjab and Haryana in terms of pre birth elimination of female foetus. The growths of the small family norms have thus become indistinguishable for planning for sons, and certainly not for only daughters. On the other extreme states with considerably large family size daughters predominate who are mostly unwanted with a desire of having sons. A strong instance of rural-urban convergence can also be seen due to the gradual diffusion of sex-selection technologies across space. Therefore, the study concludes the continuity of the past with the present situations of girl child elimination through infanticide and neglect transmuted into a more focused pre-birth elimination. Keywords Son preference, Small family norms, North-South dilution, Pre-birth elimination, desired sex composition