Raising a daughter is like watering your neighbors' garden : A research into the social demographic consequences of female deficit in the Indian society

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In this thesis, attention is paid to a demographic problem that is currently taking place in India. In some states in India, mainly in the northwest of the country in the wealthier states like Punjab and Haryana, men highly outnumber women. In these states there are about 20% more men than women present. The reason why there are many more men than women, can be found in daughter elimination. For several reasons, which are explained in this thesis, people prefer to have sons over daughters. Social and cultural factors like gender inequality, the caste system, patrilineal kinship systems, religion and dowry all play a part in this preference for sons. The result of this widespread son preference is daughter elimination on a massive scale. After sex-determination tests, many parents decide to abort the fetus if it is female. The presumption that is posed in this thesis is that this female deficit in the society will have its effects on the social demography of India. Therefore the question that was investigated in the thesis is: To what extent does the declining sex ratio in India have consequences for the country’s social demography? In order to answer this question attention had been paid to other countries that also experienced this decline in the female-to-male sex ratio. China and South Korea both have the same kinship system as the northwestern part of India, and the main reason for the adverse sex ratio in these countries could also be found in son preference and gender inequality. The consequences of the declining sex ratio in these countries were seen as possible consequences for the Indian situation. Therefore, attention was paid to those consequences to find out if they also applied to the declining sex ratio in India.
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