Almost ever since man (read human beings) learned to live in societies, almost all his actions and decisions have some or the other economic rationale behind it, either personal or collective. In fact learning agriculture and forming societies was done in order to avoid the dependence only daily animal hunting for survival. Recently I read an article about Thailand and some other countries where people can actually choose the sex of the baby they want. One can actually chose between the chromosomes to ensure the sex of the child that will be conceived. The article had the obvious mention of a large number of rich, educated Indians spending loads of money to ensure the sex of their child.
I strongly believe in the power of economics and the extent to which it affects human behaviour. When we create structures for our society we (at times unknowingly) create incentives for some specific kinds of behaviour/decisions/situations. Our society is still largely biased in favour of males, more so in favour of the male child. This bias has a perceived economic rationale behind it. Fortunately or unfortunately, this rationale is flawed, based on an analysis that is either incomplete or too conservative.
I am in no way defending or justifying this act, I am only trying to explore why it exists and how we can save our society from such a destructive self created and vicious curse.
Reasons often quoted for preference to a mail child:
A male child will support you in your old age where as female child will leave your home after marriage and you will also have to give a hefty dowry amount. A male child will on the other hand will fetch you dowry an one more member in the family (she may be working and earn money or may work at home) a benefit anyhow.
The institution of dowry in itself is a cruel one. In our society, usually the girl moves to the boys household so people feel reluctant in grooming the girl child (like spending on her education etc, because what is the use she will earn to give in some other house, why shall we spend money) which is again a misery. But even with these existing structures there is serious flaw in the above reasoning.
When we say that girl will leave your house where as the boy will stay and bring another member (and more when they have kids), we tend to forget the space requirements of humans. If a couple fancy’s about living with their two sons, both staying with them and supporting them even after they are married and have kids one has to have a large home and a good business to accommodate the Childs ambitions. I can either meet my rent and other living expenses, or start supporting my parents. The later can only happen if they have a house near my workplace.
On the other hand the big house that you lived in with your three female children is no longer required. Two people will be happier living in a smaller place, and what’s more you can chose to move where you want to. It’s time to reap benefits from your investment.
Yes, the male child may be your “bhudape ki laathee” but it comes at a cost. You may pay some dowry amount in a female Childs marriage but you will eventually give everything you have to the male Child, the female child does not even get to keep your name which she carried all these years so proudly and lovingly. Does she not even deserve to be born and loved?
A society unbalanced in terms of sex ratio is a sure shot way to disaster. What is the use if your undue preference for one sex deprives that “preferred sex” of “sex” (no pun intended).