Son Preference in China and India : Policy Interventions to address Discrimination against Girls

China and India, the two most populous countries in the world, have for centuries manifested the strongest preference for sons and the worst discrimination against daughters. In both countries, son preference has proved remarkably intransigent in the face of economic growth and social change. Gender-based inequality in terms of child survival and health has persisted despite improvement in other indicators of gender equality such as women's education and participation in the workforce. In recent years, discrimination against girls has changed form, at its most extreme shifting from female infanticide to sex-selective abortion. Both countries have enacted laws to combat gender-based discrimination in childhood, but these have failed to address the deep-seated, undervaluation of girls.

This grant will fund the first phase of a comparative analysis of policies in China and India that have attempted to address discrimination against girls. Researchers will identify policy interventions that have or have not worked, the reasons for their success or failure, and possibilities for cross-country learning.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

End Date

Thursday, July 30, 2009


12 months

IDRC Officer

Singh, Navsharan

Total funding

CA$ 153,100


China, Far East Asia, India, Central Asia, South Asia


Governance and Justice

Project Leader

Rohini Pande


International Center for Research on Women

Institution Country


Institution Website