Son preference in India is a well-documented phenomenon. Its implications for skewed sex ratios, female feticide and higher child mortality rates for girls have drawn research and policy attention. But what is less known are the underlying determinants of son preference and its implications for living girls.
This brief highlights findings from ICRW research that seeks to understand what the culture of son preference means for the health and care of living girls, how strong the ideology of son preference is in India and what factors exacerbate or diminish its strength. Among the findings, women’s education is the single most significant factor in reducing son preference while wealth and economic development do not reduce son preference.