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Winter Colloquium: Keera Allendorf
January 16 @ 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
A Gendered Demographic Dividend?: Adjusting to a Future without Sons in India.
Associate Professor of Sociology and International Studies
With the demographic transition, fertility has fallen substantially in nearly every region of the world. Fertility declines may create pressure for greater gender equality, especially in patriarchal contexts. One pathway for such changes is the gender composition of families. When fertility is low, the proportion of families with childreWinter Colloquiumn of only one gender becomes substantial. In patriarchal contexts, like India, the existence of large numbers of families with only daughters may be an important force for gendered change as parents adjust to lives without sons. One arena where such changes may occur is in old age support of parents, which is customarily provided only by sons in India. In this paper, I examine whether the gender composition of children changes women’s gendered expectations of old age support. Specifically, using panel data from the India Human Development Survey, I examine how women’s expectations of old age support change from the time just after marriage, when they do not yet have children, to a period seven years later when their childbearing is largely complete. As newlyweds without children, women overwhelmingly expected old age support from a son. Seven years later, women who had a son maintained their patriarchal expectations. By contrast, women without a son largely abandoned their patriarchal expectations and expected a daughter to provide old age support.