Examining Men’s Attitudes toward Son Preference

Project Duration

2011 - 2012

Project Countries

Nepal ,Viet nam

Project issues/theme

Intimate Partner Violence, Men and Masculinities, Violence Against Women and Girls

ICRW Project Director

Priya Nanda


Son preference is well-documented in many countries of the Asia-Pacific region. Sons are seen as essential for the survival of the family and are given greater value than daughters, resulting in skewed sex ratios, female feticide and higher child mortality.

Previous ICRW research has shown that solutions to limit son preference must address the underlying parental motivations for son preference and sex selection. Men can play lead roles in transforming harmful cultural and traditional norms and practices, and it is critical to better understand their unique role in sex selection in order to form effective policies and programs to reduce this practice.

ICRW partnered with the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Asia and the Pacific Regional Office (APRO) to conduct a quantitative survey in Nepal and Vietnam of men’s attitudes towards gender equity, gender-based violence and son preference. The study adapted the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), a comprehensive survey designed to measure men’s attitudes and behavior on gender, health, violence, family dynamics, fatherhood and other issues. The survey results were widely disseminated to guide policies and programs that aim to reduce son preference practices.