Gujaratis preferring a son to a daughter born in a family is known, a data that has time and again rationalised the staté’s skewed sex ratio. But the National Family Health Survey has thrown up another interesting revelation about the gender preference. The survey found that more women than men in the state showed preference for more number of daughters than sons. While percentage difference between men and women is a mere 0.3% (when it comes to preference for more daughters than sons) it does dent the conventional belief that often it is women who prefer to have more sons than daughters.The survey which covered 20,254 households across the state and interviewed over 22,000 women and 6,000 men found that 2.6% of the surveyed women showed an inclination for more daughters than sons against just 2.3% men, who showed similar preference. In fact, a comparison of states showed that men in Gujarat were among the top five states in India that preferred to have more sons. Men in Meghalaya showed highest preference (17.7%) for more daughters.However, those who worked in the field of gender equity and child sex ratio in Gujarat don’t believe that the survey showed any tectonic shift in attitudes. An expert who has more than a decade of experience working on the issues of girl child said, “The percentage of difference is minor. This is a positive sign. However, it is not worth congratulating ourselves. I cannot comment much without actually studying the survey. But unless the difference is around 8 to 9%, it is not much,” said the expert.The expert, however, added that a survey on gender equity carried out by their organisation did show that young women showed more gender-equitable attitudes. The survey found that more men than women preferred more sons to daughters. 15% of the surveyed men in Gujarat expressed a preference for more sons than daughters against 12.2% women. In fact, Gujarat women ranked 10th in the country for their preference for more sons. The top slot was taken by Bihar, where 37.1% of the surveyed women showed a preference for more sons than daughters.MORE POWERThe survey which covered 20,254 households in the state and interviewed over 22,000 women and 6,000 men found that 2.6% women showed prefer for daughters.

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More women than men love to have daughters: NFHS