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Rajasthan still prefers sons over daughters, reveals health survey

19% men and women in Rajasthan want more sons than daughters.

jaipur Updated: Jan 24, 2018 21:52 IST
P Srinivasan
P Srinivasan
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
NFHS-4,National Family Health Survey,Rajasthan news
On a nationwide scale, 18.8% women and 19% men said they wanted more sons than daughters.(HT Photo)

More people in Rajasthan prefer sons over daughters. It is a fact that often been highlighted by the skewed sex ratio in the state and it is a fact that has once again reaffirmed by a new study.

The National Family Health Survey (NHFS) - 4 has revealed that 19% men and women in Rajasthan want more sons than daughters. Conversely, only 1 per cent want more daughters than sons.

On a nationwide scale, 18.8% women and 19% men said they wanted more sons than daughters. Union health ministry conducts the NFHS, a multi-round survey, in a representative sample of households throughout India.

The NFHS-4 was conducted in 2015-16 among people in the age group 15 to 49 years, with the sample size being 41,703 females and 5,848 males in Rajasthan.

Among others, the survey found that 92.5 per cent men in Rajasthan want at least one male offspring compared to 89% women who said they wanted a son. On the other hand 88 per cent men and 86.6 per cent women said they wanted at least one daughter.

However, most men and women covered under the survey said they wanted to have at least one son and one daughter.

The report pointed out that although the society’s attitude towards the girl child was slowly changing, it will take years before the discrimination between the genders stops.

The survey also revealed that women’s desire for having more offspring was strongly affected by the number of sons they already had. Ninety three per cent women with two sons and 88% women with one son said they didn’t want any more children compared to 38% women with two daughters who didn’t want another child.

Social activist Rajan Choudhary said that for thousands of years “we have been mentally conditioned” to believe that “only a son can take care of the parents in old age” and perform the last rites after the death. “Society is changing and the girl child is being given importance, but still it will take at least five decades to overcome the strong desire for sons in Rajasthan. On touching the feet of the elderly, they still bless you to have more sons.”

Choudhary said that it took 50 years to send girls to school. After 2010, parents started sending girls to schools and today there is no family in the state which does not send their girls to school.

Pink City Rickshaw Chalak Sanstha secretary Vipin Tiwari said the mentality of people has to change for the to accept the girl child. “In Rajasthan even today, parents pressurise their sons and daughters-in-law for a grandson, so there is a strong desire for a boy. Now, girls are getting educated and bagging good jobs, thus change is taking place, but it will still take a long time. Our Sanstha is working in villages in Tonk district to stop child marriage, promote girls education etc.”

NFHS-4 also shows that only about a fourth of currently married women in India under the age of 49 want another child, a significant fall from 68% a decade ago.

According to the survey, only 24% of the married women between 15 and 49 years want another child. For men, the corresponding proportion is 27%, down from 49% a decade ago.

First Published: Jan 24, 2018 21:52 IST