Department of Anthropology

Son preference in the UK

Exploring generational changes in family-decision making, son preference and gender expectations among South Asian communities in the UK

Our ethnographic study will investigate generational shifts in family dynamics with regards to son preference and gender roles among British South Asian families. We will focus on the ways in which son preference is practiced, and critically examine whether the educational, socioeconomic, and transnational opportunities available to British South Asian women have shifted gender preferences and expectations over time. The qualitative research phase forms part of a broader interdisciplinary study to understand prenatal sex selection (PSS) against females in the UK. The issue of PSS has been the subject of recent parliamentary controversy as well as media coverage. Yet little is known about how generational shifts in son preference and family-making dynamics are at play in PSS. Clarifying the role of gender preference and family values in PSS will inform appropriate and evidence-based strategies to improve gender equality in the UK.

Our research project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC): ES/N01877X/1

Meet the team

Qualitative research team at the University of Sussex

Maya Unnithan

Professor Maya Unnithan
Co-Investigator and Qualitative Research lead
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Ben Kasstan

Dr Ben Kasstan
Research Fellow
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Overall research project

Son preference and sex selection against females in the UK: Evidence, causes, trends and implications.

Quantitative research team at the University of Reading

Sylvie Dubuc

Dr Sylvie Dubuc
Principal Investigator and Quantitative Research lead
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Bernice Kuang

Dr Bernice Kuang
Research Fellow
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