Creating Daughter Preference in Asia
Daughter elimination is an extreme form of gender discrimination and violence that has resulted in the loss of millions of girls in East and South Asia. In India alone, it is estimated there is a shortage of more than three million girls under age 6, largely due to discrimination in the form of sex-selective abortion, excessive female mortality, and neglect.
While this daughter deficit is slowing down in some parts of India, it is persistent or emerging in other parts of India and in other countries. The daughter deficit has resulted in a shortage of brides, a surplus of males, bride migration, and increased prospects of violence against women.
Dr. Sharada Srinivasan, Canada Research Chair in Gender, Justice and Development, is examining the gender transformation that is underway as a result of the daughter deficit, in order to create a favourable environment for daughters, and for the emergence of a “daughter preference.” She is using a feminist perspective to explore the changes that are occurring due to daughter deficits, and is combining theoretical insights from different disciplines.
Srinivasan is also gathering evidence to demystify practices that allow “son preference” and “daughter aversion” to continue, including by examining the relative contributions that daughters and sons make to their families.
Srinivasan’s research will help weaken the perception in some societies that daughters are burdensome. It will also bring visibility to the roles and contributions of daughters, and will change discourse about them.