This unique and groundbreaking book seeks to re-focus gender debate onto the issue of daughter discrimination - a phenomenon still hidden and unacknowledged across the world.

It asks the controversial question of why millions of girls do not appear to be surviving to adulthood in contemporary Asia. In the first major study available of this emotive and sensitive issue, Elisabeth Croll investigates the extent of discrimination against female children in Asia and shifts the focus of attention firmly from son-preference to daughter-discrimination.

This book brings together demographic data and anthropological field studies to reveal the multiple ways in which girls are disadvantaged, from excessive child mortality to the withholding of health care and education on the basis of gender. Focusing especially on China and India, the book reveals the surprising coincidence of increasing daughter discrimination with rising economic development, declining fertility and the generally improved status of women in East and South Asia. Essential reading for all those interested in gender in contemporary society.

chapter |20 pages

A weaker destiny

Daughter discrimination

chapter |49 pages

Demographic narratives: ‘missing girls’ 21

‘Missing girls’

chapter |36 pages

Ethnographic voices: disappointing daughters 71

Disappointing daughters

chapter |26 pages

The generations

Expectations and entitlements

chapter |21 pages

Interpreting gender

Hierarchy and difference

chapter |29 pages

The girl child

Agendas and campaigns

chapter |6 pages

Daughter empowerment

A new destiny?