Department of Anthropology

Project Videos

Son preference in the UK

Son preference and gender equality: Five British stories

From January 2018 to January 2019 we travelled across the country to explore ideas around family-making and gender equality with people of Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani origin. We conducted over 90 interviews to capture the diverse experiences in these minority communities, and we discussed whether and how son preference is shifting over time. In these videos, five women share their life experiences and personal views on son preference. They discuss the areas where gender norms had an impact on their personal or professional lives, including family inheritance, arranged marriage, education, employment, and childbearing decisions. We have produced this video in response to claims that sex-selective abortion is widespread in these minority communities, and is an issue that requires restrictions in abortion legislation. The videos instead highlight the need to tackle the root issue of son preference. Gender equality is an important part of contemporary Personal, Social, Health & Economic Education (PSHE) and Relationships & Sex Education (RSE), and the hope is that the films will spark discussions about the challenges faced by all women in the UK.