The Differential Value of Sons and Daughters in Contemporary Society

Rebecca Kippen, Australian National University
Ann Evans, Australian National University
Edith E. Gray, Australian National University

Research in the developed world over the past half century has consistently found that parents want both sons and daughters, as evidenced by the fact that parents are more likely to have a third child if the first two are both sons or both daughters rather than one of each. Studies carried out in the 1970s and earlier identified a number of different reasons parents value sons and daughters. These include carrying on the family name (sons) and providing companionship for the mother (daughters). There has been very little research on this topic since, despite the fact that gender roles have changed enormously over the past 30 years. The aim of this paper is to explore the differential value of sons and daughters to Australian parents using data from 40 indepth interviews of parents with two children.

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Presented in Poster Session 7