Population Development Studies Center of Renmin University of China
The traditional conception of son preference is the primary reason of the high sex ratio at birth in China. Women are victims of the son preference tradition, and they have experienced many life events of gender inequality throughout their life courses. How did these events affect women’s gender conceptions? Based on the life course theory, this paper explores the influence of women’s life course on their son preference by analyzing the survey data and materials. Results indicate that the effect of these gender inequality events on different stages of women’s life would accumulate, making women gradually perceive their unequal status in family and society, which increases the probability of women’s son preference. Moreover, the timing and the sequence of these events would also exert an influence on women’s son preference. In the end, this paper proposes some policy recommendations for weakening women’s son preference based on the research findings.
sex ratio at birth;son preference;life course theory;life events;gender equality
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