'Too many girls, too much dowry': Son preference and daughter aversion in rural Tamil Nadu, India

Nadia Diamond-Smith, Nancy Kay Luke, Stephen McGarvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has experienced a dramatic decline in fertility, accompanied by a trend of increased son preference. This paper reports on findings from qualitative interviews with women in rural villages about their fertility decision-making. Specifically addressed are the reasons behind increasing son preference and the consequences of this change. Findings suggest that daughter aversion, fuelled primarily by the perceived economic burden of daughters due to the proliferation of dowry, is playing a larger role in fertility decision-making than son preference. The desire for a son is often trumped by the worry over having many daughters. Women use various means of controlling the sex of their children, which in this study appear to be primarily female infanticide. It is important to distinguish between son preference and daughter aversion and to examine repercussions of low fertility within this setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-708
Number of pages12
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 10 2008

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Tamil
Marriage
Nuclear Family
India
fertility
Fertility
decision making
qualitative interview
Decision Making
proliferation
Infanticide
village
trend
economics
Economics
Interviews

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

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'Too many girls, too much dowry' : Son preference and daughter aversion in rural Tamil Nadu, India. / Diamond-Smith, Nadia; Luke, Nancy Kay; McGarvey, Stephen.

In: Culture, Health and Sexuality, Vol. 10, No. 7, 10.10.2008, p. 697-708.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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