When researching and reporting on sex-selective abortions in Indo-Canadian communities, context is key


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  1. Aurelia

    Excellent study and information surrounding the issue. Context does matter!
    I’d like to know if the attitudes and beliefs are different, depending on the ages when the couple came to Canada, or if they are second generation, or if education, or economic status changed the attitude. There is a saying in Western culture, (paraphrased)
    “A son is a son until he takes a wife, your daughter is a daughter for life.”
    Women often end up caregivers for elderly parents in Canada and the US, and I assume this saying is just one myth that contributes.
    I mention all this because many white Canadian couples have preferences for a boy or a girl, and I have been told by Stats Can researchers that (excluding recession years) Canadians stopped having children, once they had “one of each gender”.
    So two boys….they’d keep trying until they had one girl, and vice versa. I have no idea if any of these White women have had abortions….but in adoption parents get to choose the gender, and Canadian parents most often pick girls. Not boys.
    Boys are seen as rowdy, poorly behaved, hyperactive, less likely to be studious, more likely to be “trouble.” Even though child development studies show that it’s gender socialization that shapes kids behaviour, and when it isn’t that, it’s developmental delays/LDs/autism/ADHD that cause those issues, and genetics says those happen in girls and boys at equal rates.
    So, I look forward to seeing more research on this. I am a mother of three boys, 2 are adults, and actually one is transgender and will soon be my daughter.
    Thing is, I have ADHD and so do all of they, but I was never hyperactive, I was severely distracted, same for my oldest son, the other two are more on the hyperactive scale.
    The difference is that we have recieved treatment; intensive therapy and medications. And we’re doing well so far, so maybe everyone has preconceived notions about what’s it like to raise boys vs girls? 🙂

  2. Paul Anderson

    Very interesting article. I agree that it is unwise to try to draw too firm a connection between any particular culture and the practice of sex-selective abortion. It would also be unhelpful to try to pretend that there is no such thing as a culturally driven preference that would incline a couple to want their first child to be a son.

    In societies where the preference for sons over daughters is very strong and supported by tradition, there tends to develop a lopsided gender ratio. When the ratio of males to females becomes too great, history would suggest, a sequence of predictable societal problems tends to follow. Pronounced gender ratio imbalances ought to be avoided if possible. The question is how to approach the issue in a culturally respectful way.

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