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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 398-402

Perceptions of married women about reasons and suggested solutions regarding gender preferences for offspring in Katputli Nagar, Jaipur: a cross-sectional study


1 Kishangarh Bas, Alwar 310405, Rajasthan, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Sawai Man Singh Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302004, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Kalyan Government Medical College, Sikar, Rajasthan 332001, India

Date of Submission08-Aug-2021
Date of Acceptance09-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication22-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Priyanka Kapoor
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Kalyan Government Medical College, Sikar, Rajasthan 332001.
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/mgmj.mgmj_58_21

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  Abstract 

Background: In India, the preference for a son is strong. Due to many reasons in various communities, the strong desire for a son and discrimination against a female child are causing the non-preference of female children, resulting in a skewed sex ratio in India. The main objective of the study was to assess the perception of urban slum married women in the reproductive age group about reasons and solutions to overcome gender preference. Materials and Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study on 1230 married women of urban slums of age group 15–49 years was carried out in Katputli Nagar in Rajasthan state, India. Information regarding reasons and solutions to overcome gender preference was asked. A predesigned semi-structured questionnaire was used for data collection. Results: Out of the 1230 study subjects, the majority reason for the male preference was “propagation of family name” (53.3%), followed by “family safety” (46.5%) and “funeral responsibility” (44.8%), “financial help in future” (39.2%) and “old age support” (40.2%). “Family name spoilage if remaining unmarried” and “female offspring will not stay with them after marriage” were the most preferred reasons for female non-preference (59.8% and 58.3%), respectively, and “dowry” in 56.4%. Strict implementation of anti-dowry law and better implementation of educational aids for girl child might be strong changes (69.83% and 69.18%, respectively), followed by “improvement in the security of females” (61.95%). Conclusion: Propagation of family names was an important reason for the preference for males. Strict implementation of anti-dowry law and better implementation of educational aid for female children might be strong changes that could remove gender discrimination in society.

Keywords: Gender preference, reasons, solutions for gender discrimination


How to cite this article:
Bharti V, Kewalramani S, Kashyap A, Kapoor P. Perceptions of married women about reasons and suggested solutions regarding gender preferences for offspring in Katputli Nagar, Jaipur: a cross-sectional study. MGM J Med Sci 2021;8:398-402

How to cite this URL:
Bharti V, Kewalramani S, Kashyap A, Kapoor P. Perceptions of married women about reasons and suggested solutions regarding gender preferences for offspring in Katputli Nagar, Jaipur: a cross-sectional study. MGM J Med Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 13];8:398-402. Available from: http://www.mgmjms.com/text.asp?2021/8/4/398/333322




  Introduction Top


One of the most significant features of the twentieth century has been the dramatic decline in fertility and explicit preference for smaller families in most parts of East and South Asia; this has exacerbated the preference for a son, leading to increased discrimination against daughters.[1] Census of India has consistently shown an abnormal sex ratio right from the first census of 1871 (940 females for every 1000 males), but the most alarming aspect of the 2011 census is that the child sex ratio which is a measure of female/male children below 6 years is even lower (914/1000) and has fallen from 927 girls/1000 boys in 2001 and it is the lowest since 1947.[2] In Rajasthan, the sex ratio was estimated to be 921 in the Census 2001, which improved a bit to 928 as estimated in Census 2011.

The preference for sons or more sons than daughters has been documented in several countries in the world.[3] In India, the desire for a son is strong and pervasive, and it has been frequently cited as one of the major obstacles in the way of reducing the national fertility level.[4] The preference for a male child and discrimination against the female child resulted in a skewed sex ratio in India. Studies have found that several cultural, social, and economic factors influence the relative benefits and costs of sons and daughters and ultimately affect parents’ gender preferences.[5],[6],[7]

Studies in India have identified some major factors that favor son preference. Factors such as the economic utility of sons, old age security, economic reward, socio-cultural utility, inheriting property, etc. influence the decision for the preference for sons.[8],[9],[10],[11] Results of the study may reveal important suggestions to remove gender discrimination in that particular area, as most of the states in India still show an inverse sex ratio at present. This study shows the mindset of the weaker section of society and if we can address their issues, its impacts may be exponential. Hence, the present study was conducted to determine the perception about reasons and solutions to combat gender preferences among married women living in the Katputli Nagar slum area of Jaipur.


  Materials and methods Top


This community-based, cross-sectional, descriptive study was conducted from June 2016 to August 2017 in Katputli Nagar, an urban slum of Jaipur city which is a field practice area of Urban Health Training Centre (UHTC) under the Department of Community Medicine, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, India. Ethical clearance was obtained from the research review board of SMS Medical College, Jaipur. The study was conducted among eligible married women of the reproductive age group (15–45 years) living in urban slum Katputli Nagar, Jaipur.

After taking informed consent from all eligible study participants, detailed history and socio-demographic information were taken by the investigator himself. All the information thus collected was recorded on a predesigned, semi-structured study performa to eliminate recording bias.

Sample size

Sample size was calculated to be 1033 subjects at 95% confidence interval and 1.5% absolute allowable error to verify the expected minimum 6.2% proportion of income purpose as reason for son preference (as per seed article, Chavada and Bhagyalaxmi[12]). The sample size was calculated using the following formula:

n= (Z1−α/2)2 p (100−p)/E2,

(Z1−α/2)2 = (1.96)2 ≈ 4,

where P is the proportion of income purpose as reason for son preference = 6.2%,

E is the absolute allowable error which is 1.5,

n is the sample size,

n = 4 × 6.2 (93.8)/(1.5)2 = 1033.

All married women of the study area were taken, which were approximately 1580, and a total of 1230 subjects were included as study participants as per inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Inclusion criteria

  • Married women living in the area for at least 6 months,


  • Women in the age group of 15–49 years.


  • Exclusion criteria

  • Those who are unable to communicate,


  • Those who were not available for interviews after two visits.


  • Statistical analysis

    Data thus collected were entered in Microsoft Excel software and analyzed using SPSS version 20.0. Quantitative data were expressed as mean and standard deviation. Qualitative data were expressed as a percentage, and the χ2 test was used for the analysis of qualitative data with primer software. The level of significance was taken at a P-value <0.05.


      Results Top


    A total of 1230 study subjects were interviewed. Maximum study participants were in the age group of 25–34 years and mostly the study population comprised of Hindus (89%). Most of the study participants were indulged in skilled works (were tailor, katputli maker, etc.) and labor work (52.6% and 46.2%, respectively). Maximum was belonging to SES class V (34.4%) [Table 1].
    Table 1: Distribution of study participants for gender preferences according to socio-demographic characteristics

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    The reason for the male preference was “propagation of family name” at first among study subjects (53.3%), followed by “family safety” (46.5%) and “funeral responsibility” (44.8%). “Financial help in future” and “old age support” reasons have almost similar priority, 39.2% and 40.2%, respectively. In-laws pressure was observed in 26.3% of the cases and social responsibility in 24.6%. There was no reason in 5.4% [Table 2].
    Table 2: Distribution of study subjects according to reasons for male preference

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    “Female offspring will not stay with them after marriage” was the most preferred reason for female non-preference (58.3%). Dowry was the preferred reason for female non-preference in 56.4%. The safety issue of the girl was seen in 52.26%, followed by non-support in old age (46.6%), parents of girl child considered inferior in society (31.25%), no financial support in future (34.8%), family name spoilage if remain unmarried (27.23%), and expenditure on a girl will not repay in future (21.78%). About 1.46% had no reason [Table 3].
    Table 3: Distribution of study subjects according to reason for not preferring female child

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    Strict implementation of anti-dowry law was the most common response (69.83%) and might be strong changes that could remove gender discrimination in society. Better implementation of educational aids for girl children might be strong changes that could remove gender discrimination in society (69.18%). Priorities of these possible changes were followed by “improvement in the security of females” (61.95%). About 55.6% told for better implementation of financial aids for a girl child and 29.59% told about sex determination prohibition. Only 2.9% of study subjects could not respond to this view [Table 4].
    Table 4: Perceptions of study subjects regarding changes in society that can remove the gender discrimination

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      Discussion Top


    A total of 1230 study subjects were interviewed. Study participants of the present study told a wide range of reasons for male child preference in society. “Propagation of family name” and “family safety” were the commonest (53.3% and 49.8%, respectively). “Funeral responsibilities,” “old age support,” and “financial help in future” reasons were having almost similar priority. Other reasons were “in-laws pressure” and “social responsibilities” (26% and 24%, respectively). A very few respondents (5.4%) had no reason for son preference; they just wanted a male child. In 2009, a study carried out by Chavada et al.[12] also showed similar findings that “keeping family line” reason was a priority and “old age support” being second priority. Findings of another study in an urban slum done by Wadgave et al.[8] also revealed similar priority, first reason being “propagation of family name” (55%). Recently, in 2016, a study carried out by Vishal et al.[13] also found similar results for a few reasons, as in the present study.

    “Female offspring will not stay with them after marriage” and dowry were the most preferred reasons for female non-preference, 58.3% and 56.4%, respectively, in our study. The safety issue of a girl was seen in 52.26%, followed by non-support in old age (46.6%), parents of girl child considered inferior in society (31.25%), no financial support in future (34.8%), family name spoilage if remain unmarried (27.23%), expenditure on a girl will not repay in future (21.78%). About 1.46% had no reason. Similar findings were revealed in a study by Chavada et al.,[12] the problem of non-stay with parents after marriage was at the highest priority (50.5%), followed by dowry problem. In 2008, a report on socio-cultural factor of declining sex ratio in Haryana and Delhi by the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development[14] showed that 95% of women accepted dowry as a priority, as a reason for non-preference of the female child, which was in contrast to the findings of the present study. The difference between findings might be due to the study area and composition of the study population. Education and residence were significantly associated with son preference in the study of Chavada et al.[12] For socioeconomic status, 89.63% of the women from the lower classes III, IV, and V preferred a male child when compared with 84.03% of the women from the higher classes I and II in a study by Chavada et al.[12]

    Participants of the present study gave a wide range of perceptions regarding changes in society that can remove gender preference or discrimination. Strict implementation of anti-dowry law and improving the security of females were two major suggestions given by study participants (69% for each). Other suggested solutions to remove gender preference were education facilities and financial aids for girls. About 30% of subjects suggested that strict prohibition of sex determination could be a tool to remove gender preferences for offspring in society. In 2008, a report on socio-cultural factor of declining sex ratio in Haryana and Delhi by the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development found some suggestive measures for curbing the problem of dowry reported by men and ICDS and health functionaries. Various suggestive measures as reported by the respondents were the strict implementation of laws; removal of poverty; improving the status of literacy; creating awareness about the evils of accepting dowry; and improving the value of the girl child. The responses like removal of illiteracy and improving the value of the girl child were expressed more strongly, implying that society is desirous of a long-term solution to the problem.


      Conclusion Top


    Propagation of family name was an important reason for preference to a male child over the female child, and “female offspring will not stay with them after marriage” and dowry were most preferred reasons for female non-preference. Strict implementation of anti-dowry law and better implementation of educational aids for girl children might be strong changes that could remove gender discrimination in society.

    Financial support and sponsorship

    Nil.

    Conflicts of interest

    There are no conflicts of interest.

    Ethical consideration

    Ethical approval for undertaking the proposed research study was obtained from the Office of the Ethics Committee (EC), SMS Medical College and Attached Hospital, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India vide their letter no. 2407/MC/EC/2016 dated May 23, 2016.



     
      References Top

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    Dey (Pal) I, Chaudhuri RN. Gender preference and its implications on reproductive behavior of mothers in a rural area of West Bengal. Indian J Community Med 2009;34:65-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
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    2.
    Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner. New Delhi, India, 2011. Available from: https://censusindia.gov.in/. Last assessed on August 5, 2017.  Back to cited text no. 2
        
    3.
    Cleland JG, Verrall J, Vaessan M. Comparative Studies Cross-National Summaries: Preference for the Sex of Children and Their Influences on Reproductive Behavior World Fertility Survey: Comparative Studies, No. 27. Voorburg, The Netherlands: International Statistical Institute; 1983. pp. 1-46.  Back to cited text no. 3
        
    4.
    Chaudhuri S. The desire for sons and excess fertility: A household-level analysis of parity progression in India. Int Perspect Sex Reprod Health 2012;38:178-86.  Back to cited text no. 4
        
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    Puri S, Bhatia V, Swami HM. Gender preference and awareness regarding sex determination among married women in slums of Chandigarh. Indian J Community Med 2007;32:60-2.  Back to cited text no. 5
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    Vadera BN, Joshi UK, Unadakat SV, Yadav BS, Yadav SA. Study on knowledge, attitude and practices regarding gender preference and female feticide among pregnant women. Indian J Commun Med 2007;32:300-1.  Back to cited text no. 6
        
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    Pavithra MB, Dhanpal S, Lokanath H. A study of gender preference, knowledge, and attitude regarding prenatal diagnostic techniques act among pregnant women in an urban slum of Bengaluru. Int J Community Med Public Health 2015;2:282. http://dx.doi.org/10.18203/2394-6040.ijcmph20150483  Back to cited text no. 7
        
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    Wadgave HV, Jatti GM, Pore PD. Attitude of pregnant women towards the gender preference. Indian J Mat Child Health2011;13:7.  Back to cited text no. 8
        
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    Kulkarni RR, Bandireddy M, Reddy NSB. A community-based cross-sectional study on gender preference, awareness, and attitude regarding sex determination among married women in rural field practice areas of North Karnataka, India. Int J Community Med Public Health 2016;3:2973-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
        
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    Leone T, Matthews Z, Dalla Zuanna G. Impact and determinants of sex preference in Nepal. Int Fam Plan Perspect2003;29:69-75.  Back to cited text no. 10
        
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    Srivastava1 A, Singh JV, Singh OP, Singh VK, Singh N. Gender preference, attitude and awareness of young eligible couples towards prenatal sex determination in Lucknow District. Natl J Commun Med 2014;5:148-52.  Back to cited text no. 11
        
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    Chavada M, Bhagyalaxmi A. Effect of socio-cultural factors on the preference for the sex of children by women in Ahmedabad District. Health Popul Perspect Issues 2009;32:184-9.  Back to cited text no. 12
        
    13.
    Dhande VS, Gadekar RD, Shingare AD, Domple VK. Gender preference among reproductive age group women in a rural area. Int J Community Med Public Health 2016;3:1862-5.  Back to cited text no. 13
        
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    A Socio-cultural Study of the Declining Sex Ratio in Delhi and Haryana. New Delhi: National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development; 2008. p. 141.  Back to cited text no. 14
        



     
     
        Tables

      [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]



     

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