Patterns and Predictors of Gender Preference for Children in Kuwait
Nasra M. Shah, Kuwait University
Makhdoom A. Shah, Kuwait University
The objective is to assess whether any gender preference exists in Kuwait and if so, what socio-demographic and other factors are correlated with this. Data collected from 1502 currently married Kuwaiti women in a nationally representative household survey conducted in 1999 are used. About three-fourths expressed a numerical value in terms of sons and daughters desired while the rest either had no gender preference or did not specify the number of children desired. On average, women want about 0.6 more sons than daughters (3 and 2.4, respectively). Considering those 1118 women who provided numerical responses, the majority (57%) wanted the same number of boys as girls. Among those with gender preference 36% wanted more boys than girls and only 7% wanted more girls than boys. The socio-cultural roots of boy preference are discussed along with the possible implications of such preference for the welfare and advancement of girl children.