Son preference refers to a general preference by an individual or a group for male offspring over female offspring. Son preference may be evidenced by female infanticide, sperm sorting, or female fetus abortion, or it may simply exist as a psychological preference. Even a psychological preference may have an impact on the lives of offspring: preferred male offspring may be given more and better food, greater access to health care services, or greater access to education, for example.

Son preference is both a historical and a contemporary phenomenon. Historically, evidence of son preference exists for many civilizations, including ancient Greece, Rome, India, China, Japan, Korea, and Europe. The same is true for Arab and Native American civilizations, Australian aboriginal society, and historical Polynesia. In the twenty-first ...

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