All they want is sons

Daughters are considered inferior offspring in a society overwhelmed by materialistic values

October 01, 2023


e have shown this time and again. All we want is sons; no daughters please. Sons have potential for better things including greater prestige. Who needs daughters? Daughters are burdensome creatures. They need feeding clothing and providing a fat dowry which they leave with for another household. Sons, on the other hand, can be a source of strength, protection and continuity of the family name. Daughters are so obviously a poorer deal. Who wants a poor deal?

A society obsessed with economic value, sees children as assets. Daughters are clearly the lesser assets.

Should people have a choice in this matter, how many will want daughters? If only we had more control over this. May be a little more of scientific advancement will get us there. Once we have that choice, what then? Will everybody still want sons? The question is almost redundant. Which father will not want a child who can be the future carrier of the family legacy and a source of support in old age? Which mother will want to go through a life-threatening experience and then face disappointed faces?

So, what kind of a world shall we get? Will it be a better world than we have today? What will the sum of all our wishes come true be like? Common sense suggests that it will not be a very pleasant one. It is not hard to see why. The absence of girls and women will cause severe demographic crises. The world population will shrink fast, threatening the stability of societies and economies. The inability to reproduce naturally will necessitate drastic measures to sustain the human population.

Without women there would be no cultural diversity. Art, literature and social norms would be profoundly impacted, potentially leading to cultural stagnation.

What will the human rights situation be like with the males holding unchecked power and control. Civil liberties, particularly for those lacking power, will be eroded, leading to authoritarian regimes. But may be a lack of civilized behavior and democratic values will not kill us.

The gender imbalance will lead to more intense competition among males. The competition could fuel social unrest and violence - even wars over reproductive resources. New ethical questions will arise concerning how to maintain the human population.

What of culture? In the absence of girls and women, there will be no cultural diversity. Art, literature, and social norms will be profoundly impacted, potentially leading to cultural stagnation. The emotional and psychological toll of living in a world without women will be immense. Loneliness, depression and a sense of isolation could become pervasive issues among the surviving population.

Gender balance has fostered creativity and innovation. Questions about the long-term survival of the human species and the ethical dilemmas surrounding reproduction will become harder to answer.

Does that sound like a better existence? It turns out that the gender balance is rather important for the world as we know. It seems that wanting sons and no daughters is a classic case of needing to be careful with what we wish for. It’s important to emphasise gender equality and the equal value of all individuals, regardless of gender.

The writer, a published anthropologist, teaches at the International Islamic University, Islamabad