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Disappearing Daughters

Disappearing Daughters
Expectant parents are often curious to know the sex of their unborn child. They use the information to decorate and buy clothes for a boy or a girl. But in some households, knowing the gender of the next child holds a different, and perhaps more sinister, significance.

All week, we examine the issue of sex selection and why in some cultures, male children are preferred over girls. A study released Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveals Indian-born mothers now living in Ontario are giving birth to a disproportionate number of male babies for their second and third-born children (graph).

Aparita Bhandari

This begs several questions: Why is this happening? What role do traditional values held in countries such as India, South Korea and China play once immigrants move here? What influence does education vs. legislation play in encouraging newcomer parents to value girls and boys equally?

Manavi Handa
These are some of issues explored in our series, Disappearing Daughters.

Matt Galloway spoke with our What's On columnist, Aparita Bhandari. She has a very personal perspective on this issue.
Listen audio (runs 7:04)

Harjot Ghuman-Matharu
Gurnam Kaur and
Raj Ghuman (L-R)
Matt Galloway spoke with midwife Manavi Handa about her experiences with new parents in the South Asian community. She describes the challenges this study presents and her experiences as a front-line caregiver for that community.
Listen audio (runs 6:15)

Dr. Joel Ray
Metro Morning's Mary Wiens spoke with three generations, mother, daughter and grandmother, about what they see as a growing pattern of selective abortion in their community.
Listen audio (runs 6:45)

Dr. Joel Ray of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto says it would be 'unfair to speculate' why boys are over-represented among third children from Indian immigrant families, but that it is 'unlikely to be due to chance.'
Listen audio (runs 6:31)

The study

Each blue bar shows the ratio of male births to female births for the corresponding country for the third birth in the family birth order. The study was based on 766,688 live single births in Ontario between 2002 and 2007. Find out more about these figures and the methods used to obtain them.

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