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In countries like China and India, parents indicate their preference for male over female children by selective abortions (allowed by pre-natal screening), which abort a disproportionate number of female fetuses.

Parents or other adults may feel that way in any country. But in nations like the United States, people would be unwilling to admit to such feelings because they are considered "politically incorrect." Certainly, few serious politicians in those countries would advocate discriminatory gender policies.

Yet gender discrimination is considered acceptable in other countries, including the ones I've named, and perhaps parts of Italy or Spain. Why would it be true in this group of countries and not the other group. Is it the result of "tradition" or "custom?" Do most European countries have political philosophies such as the Enlightenment or the "Rights of Man" that head off gender discrimination? Or do certain forms of government, (e.g. democracy) tend to discourage gender discrimination while others (e.g. monarchy) favor it?

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    This isn't really a political question. It's more of a human history/sociology/culture question.
    – user1530
    Aug 18 '13 at 1:49
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    In what way is this question answerable? In those countries people presumably think it's okay and in other countries we recognize the damage that gender preference causes, and so place legal restrictions on it.
    – Publius
    Aug 18 '13 at 11:17
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    @DA: Gender discrimination is politically possible in some countries and not others. So what are the political theories, beliefs, institutions that make the difference?
    – Tom Au
    Aug 18 '13 at 14:18
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    @Avi: In ALL countries (some) "people presumably think it's okay and [others] recognize the damage that gender preference causes." What accounts for the (political) balance of power between the two groups.
    – Tom Au
    Aug 18 '13 at 14:23
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    "what are the political theories, beliefs, institutions that make the difference" = human history/sociology/culture
    – user1530
    Aug 18 '13 at 16:54
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With little in the way of social security where your children are you pension and also with a one child policy in place it is only natural that Chinese parents will want a son because they will want to give themselves the best change of having a child that will be able to support them in their old age.

You could mitigate this by getting rid of the one child policy and by making women as socially and possibly legally responsible for the welfare of their parents as men are.

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  • Do you have any evidence that this is why Chinese parents prefer sons and for those reasons, perhaps in the form of poll data?
    – Publius
    Aug 19 '13 at 16:02

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