• Friday, Feb 26, 2021
  • Last Update : 04:48 pm

ED: Valuing sons and daughters equally

  • Published at 02:35 am January 27th, 2021
gender equality
Photo: BIGSTOCK

It is high time we well and truly got past these absurd prejudices

It is no secret that a large segment of our society has always preferred male children over female children. This is an outdated, sexist attitude that still sees boys as future breadwinners, and girls as burdens to be married off.

In spite of the staggering economic progress we have made as a nation, with women leading the way in various fields, from politics, to business, to science, this kind of thinking persists. There is, however, hope that things may be changing bit by bit, and the preference of having sons over having daughters may be on the decline.

A recent study conducted by the University of Kent in the UK has shown that son-preference among women of child-bearing age has gone down. We must be cautious, however, when approaching these results. Explicit preference for male children may be going down, and in this regard the women surveyed may be entirely honest, but actual fertility patterns tell a story we cannot ignore.

Women who have no sons but only daughters are more likely to want more children than those who already have sons. This shows that perhaps on a subconscious level, a preference for sons is still there. Again, the social structure and systemic inequality here is to blame.

It is high time we well and truly got past these absurd prejudices. If Bangladesh truly wishes to be seen as a formidable, progressive nation, we need to invest in girls, invest in their education, and teach mothers and fathers that a baby’s gender has absolutely nothing to do with their worth, economically, socially, or simply as human beings.

The rights of all must be protected and upheld, and we must keep up the fight against child marriage, sexual assault, workplace sexism, and all the toxic forces that are holding us back.

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