From ‘Fertility Control’ to ‘Gender Control’? : Evidences of Increasing Gender Bias in Rural South India

T.V. Sekher, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Neelambar Hatti, Lund University

Why are female children still at risk in India despite progress in education, increasing participation of women in economic and political activities, and an overall improvement in the status of women? Is there any significant shift from ‘son preference’ to ‘daughter discrimination’? Based on a study of two villages from low fertility regions of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the paper attempts to understand the factors responsible for the increasing discrimination against girls, even before they are born. The widespread use of sex determination tests and easy availability of abortion facilities have given an opportunity for parents to achieve the desired family size and the desired gender composition of children. The study indicates an intensification of gender bias particularly among the peasant communities. The rapid fertility decline, not accompanied by changes in the cultural values and gender inequality, has resulted in a deliberate attempt to ‘ get rid of girls’.

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Presented in Poster Session 1