Masculinity, son preference & intimate partner violence

Publication year


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Priya Nanda, Abishek Gautam, Ravi Verma, Sanjay Kumar and Dhanashri Brahme

A preference for sons over daughters has a detrimental impact on women’s and girls’ health and well being.  It also affects society by driving gender-biased, sex selection resulting in a skewed ratio of females to males at birth in favor of males.

This report presents the findings of a large-scale study that examines men’s and women’s underlying attitudes and behaviors around son preference, with a particular focus on how they conceptualize manhood and masculinity.  The study was conducted in seven Indian states (Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) involving more than nine thousand men and three thousand women, aged 18-49.  The study identified key factors that influence men’s views about masculinity, as measured by their support for gender equality and control of women’s behaviour, and how these views impact on their preference for sons and perpetration of intimate partner violence.