Female selective abortion - beyond 'culture': family making and gender inequality in a globalising India

Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (2010) Female selective abortion - beyond 'culture': family making and gender inequality in a globalising India. Culture, Health and Sexuality, 12 (2). pp. 153-166. ISSN 1369-1058

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There is an emerging global discourse on female selective abortion (FSA) as several Asian countries witness an increasing imbalance in their sex ratios in favour of boys. While there is an attendant increase in demographic and social surveys on the issue, little is understood about FSA as either a desired or contested practice of family making in the contexts in which it is practiced. Drawing on the accounts of feminists, doctors and lower, middle-class Hindu and Muslim women and their families in Rajasthan, Northern India, the paper explores differing perceptions and attitudes to FSA in the region. Focusing on the agency of pregnant women who resort to FSA, the paper suggests that gender inequality and marriage anxieties shape especially lower-middle-class women's engagement with reproductive technologies, including those of sex selection. The paper also concludes that the decisions of both Hindu and Muslim lower-middle-class women to abort female babies is informed by their shared, pragmatic understanding of the economic realities of gender discrimination and of their social obligation as wives to reproduce a particular quality of patriarchal family.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Quality of Offspring—The Impact of New Reproductive Technologies in Asia
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Depositing User: Maya Unnithan
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:04
Last Modified: 30 May 2012 13:55
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/10091
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