Son Preference and Patriarchal Systems: Empirical and Gender Analysis of the Imbalance in Sex Ratio at Birth in China

  • May 8, 2013
  • By Li Huiying
  • Editor: Zhang Ningning
  • Change Text Size: A  A  A

Key words: son preference, patriarchy, patrilocal, gender systems

Abstract: The imbalance in sex ratio at birth is an outstanding social issue in China, whose connection the practice of son preference is intrinsic. This paper utilizes empirical research in six provinces to identify the three elements of patriarchal system as the root causes of the imbalance in sex ratio at birth. These are the patrilocal practice, the father-to-son property inheritance practice, and the father-to-son family name inheritance practice. These three customs not only come from history but also are omnipresent today. They exist as values that have been enforced through the systems of distribution of resources. Such enforcement takes place not only through family and village rules and regulations but also by way of government's acquiescence and inaction. Such is the structure of gender systems in China.

(Source: Collection of Women's Studies)

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