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Gender Equality and Inequality in Rural India

Blessed with a Son

Authors: Vlassoff, C.

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About this book

As India strives to improve overall social and economic conditions and gender relations through policies such as the abolishment of dowry, increasing the legal age at marriage, and promoting educational opportunities for girls, serious challenges remain, especially in rural areas. Gender Equality and Inequality in Rural India focuses on the extent to which economic development has resulted in positive changes in women's empowerment and reproductive health, as well as in sex preference. Based on a study from a village in Maharashtra where impressive gains in economic development have occurred in recent decades, Carol Vlassoff examines the impact of son preference on fertility and rural women's economic empowerment and other aspects of reproductive behavior. She provides evidence of the added value of their employment beyond the traditional wage labor and domestic spheres, and argues that policies aimed at closing gender gaps in social inequalities must be complemented by policies fostering employment opportunities for women. While many studies have demonstrated the importance of social empowerment for improved reproductive health, this is the first to separate out the differential effects of social and economic factors. This work goes even further than economic arguments by demonstrating, on the basis of a robust statistical analysis, that women's education and their professional labor force participation contribute to better health and wellbeing of rural society, including through reductions in fertility, son preference, and infant and child mortality.

About the authors

Carol Vlassoff is an Adjunct Faculty Member at the University of Ottawa, Canada.

Reviews

"This book is an insightful study of women's empowerment and reproductive health in rural India in the context of economic change - moving beyond simplistic conventional wisdom that education alone will empower women. Vlassoff uses an innovative longitudinal design, with rigorous demographic and epidemiological analyses, to study the driving forces of son preference and how son preference ultimately shapes women's empowerment and reproductive health, illustrating 'how to do field work' for future generations of development scholars." - K.S. Mohindra, Globalization and Health Equity Research Unit, Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Canada

"While much related research attention has been on the stronger and stubborn son preference trends in urban and rapidly developing India, Vlassoff lays out the resilient son-preference in reproductive choice in rural Maharashtra. Her strength is her robust village data spanning over three decades for exploring demographic and anthropological issues. The deft analyses of change and continuity in gender inequality, despite gender empowerment laws, holds value for social scientists as well as policy makers." - Tulsi Patel, Professor of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India


Table of contents (9 chapters)

  • The Importance of Sons in Indian Culture

    Vlassoff, Carol

    Pages 1-14

  • Methodology of the Village Study

    Vlassoff, Carol

    Pages 15-33

  • The Village Context: Changes over Three Decades

    Vlassoff, Carol

    Pages 35-61

  • Empowerment, Gender Attitudes, and Reproductive Decisions among Married Women, Then and Now

    Vlassoff, Carol

    Pages 63-93

  • The Influence of Son Preference on Fertility Intentions and Subsequent Behavior

    Vlassoff, Carol

    Pages 95-107

Buy this book

eBook $89.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-37392-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $120.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-37492-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Gender Equality and Inequality in Rural India
Book Subtitle
Blessed with a Son
Authors
Copyright
2013
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc.
Distribution Rights
Distribution rights are restricted
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-37392-2
DOI
10.1057/9781137373922
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-37492-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXII, 204
Topics