Does Parental Education Have Any Role to Play on Female Child Disadvantage?
In contrast to the existing studies that employ community level data to find out the discrimination against female child, the present chapter uses household level primary survey data from a small area of West Bengal, India, since the incidence of the discrimination against female child can properly be analysed using household level primary survey data. The existence of female child disadvantage (FCD) is verified by comparing female–male underweight level for each household following the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) criterion. Nutritional deficiency is calculated using “WHO child growth standards” and “WHO reference 2007” tables for (i) children aged up to 5 years and (ii) children aged more than 5 and up to 6 years, respectively. The effect of an increase in the level of education of both father and mother of the child on the existence of FCD is tested separately along with family income, whether there is the custom of dowry, working status of the mother, the religion and cast of household as the other explanatory variables. It is found that 61.19 % of the sample households show bias against female children. An increase in education level of both mother and father reduces the probability of the existence of FCD, whereas the existence of the custom of dowry increases such probability. Thus, enhancing the education level of the parents and undertaking different measures for eradicating the dowry system such as making the existing law on dowry much more stringent and arranging different programmes to make people aware of the values of females are necessary for reducing the prevalence of FCD.
KeywordsEducational Attainment Male Child Female Child Severe Malnutrition Acute Malnutrition
The fund provided for the project by the Centre for Advanced Studies, Department of Economics, Jadavpur University is gratefully acknowledged.
- Jayachandran S, Kuziemko I (2009) Why do mothers breastfeed girls less than boys? Evidence and implications for child health in India. NBER Working Paper No. 15041Google Scholar
- Karve I (1965) Kinship organization in India. Asia Publishing House, BombayGoogle Scholar
- Klasen S, Wink C (2002) Missing women: current trends in gender bias inmortality. Fem Econ 28(2):285–312Google Scholar
- Pitt MM, Rosenzweig MR, Hassan MdN (1990) Productivity, health and inequality in the intra-household distribution of food in low-income countries. Am Eco Rev 80:1139–1156Google Scholar
- Sen A (1990a) Gender and cooperative conflict. In: Tinker I (ed) Persistent inequalities: women and world development. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Sen A (1990b) More than 100 million women are missing. The New York Review of Books, 20 December, 60–66Google Scholar
- http://www.who.int/childgrowth/en/. Accessed 12 Dec 2014
- http://www.who.int/growthref/en/. Accessed 12 Dec 2014