Explaining Daughter Devaluation and the Issue of Missing Women in South Asia and the UK

Aisha Gill*, Trishima Mitra-Kahn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Women in South Asia have a biologically abnormal chance of mortality from conception until their mid-thirties. This phenomenon (known as 'missing women') is related to son preference and daughter devaluation, which manifests itself in sex-selective abortions and gender-biased allocations of healthcare and nutrition. This article examines putative underlying determinants of the missing women phenomenon in South Asia (primarily India, but touching upon Pakistan and Bangladesh) and determines which of them are operative. It is found that these underlying determinants persist in migrant communities in the UK, though there is evidence that they find expression in different ways. The article presents an agenda for researching the phenomenon of missing women in the UK and suggests ways in which it might be eliminated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-703
Number of pages20
JournalCurrent Sociology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for Gender and Violence Research


  • Daughter devaluation
  • Migration
  • Missing women
  • Sex-selective abortion
  • Son preference


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