Another dimension to male/son preference

That a preference for sons is at the heart of India’s related problems of female foeticide/infanticide and sex selective abortion is a well-documented fact.

In the Economics Journal, Rupa Subramanya Dehejia discusses another dimension to this – a gender gap in breastfeeding. She refers to a recent paper by economists Seema Jayachandran and Ilyana Kuziemko that suggests that parents often inadvertently discriminate against a daughter by breastfeeding her for a shorter duration. While this may not be a deliberate act – unlike choosing to abort a female foetus or killing a new born girl – it can result in early deaths – due to lack of nutrition or contaminated drinking water or other substitutes for breast milk – and eventually contributes to India’s large tally of ‘missing women’.

Read Rupa’s column here.

Read the paper by Seema Jayachandran and Ilyana Kiziemko here.