Reframing the Practice of ‘Son Preference’ Through the Millennium Development Goals

Michelle Ratpan

in Law and Childhood Studies

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652501
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739217 | DOI:

Series: Current Legal Issues

Reframing the Practice of ‘Son Preference’ Through the Millennium Development Goals

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This chapter describes the preference of sons over daughters in northern India. This preference results in the deliberate neglect of girls causing their eventual death from disease and/or malnutrition. The justifications for this practice are largely based on community and religious values that support discriminatory attitudes and behaviour. To date, various local, national, and international remedies have been suggested to combat this problem. Despite the implementation of local programmes, passing of national laws, and the ratification of international treaties, empirically, the ratio of girl children to boys in northern India continues to decline. The chapter suggests that it is time for a reframing of the issue of ‘son preference’. The focus in both national and international legal discourse needs to move towards an agreement on what constitutes the universal children's right to equal treatment and equal access to available health services. The chapter examines how India may reduce the practice of ‘son preference’ through a commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, particularly goals one to four. In doing so, the Indian Government may successfully take the focus away from attempting to change a negative social practice, towards achieving a positive social outcome.

Keywords: sons; daughters; India; children's rights

Chapter.  7518 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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