Institute for Social Development Studies

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Project: Men's Attitudes to Son Preference and Harmful Practices in Vietnam, Nepal and Pakistan


Duration: May 2011-Dec 2011

Donors: UNFPA & ICRW Newdehli



Photo: Children in Vinh Thanh commune, Can Tho City, Vietnam


Background and Rationale

In a number of Asian countries son preference is so prevalent that it has resulted in substantial levels of excess female child mortality, and has skewed the sex ratios in parts of China, India, Vietnam and emerging signs in Nepal and Pakistan.

The significant male surplus in some populations resulting from the excess of male births since 1980 inevitably has an impact on the context of both women's and men's entry into partnership or marriage. There is evidence that the lack of women available for marriage has lead to increased violence against women, trafficking, abduction, forced married, or brides being shared among brothers.

This study seeks to adapt the International Men And Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) survey tools to explore men’s attitude towards son preference in Vietnam and Nepal. IMAGES is one of the most comprehensive surveys every carried out on the attitudes and behaviors of men aged 18-49 years, on issues related to gender equality, including sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health, gender-based violence and men’s participation in care-giving and family life.


Project Goals and Objectives

The overall objective of this study is to carry out research in Vietnam, Nepal and Pakistan to understand the dimensions, nature and determinants of men’s varying attitude to son preference and sex selection. The specific objectives of the project are:

  1. Assess the current behaviors and attitudes of men on a wide range of issues as they relate to gender equality
  2. Assess men’s knowledge and attitude towards son preference and sex selection
  3. Assess men’s knowledge of and attitudes toward about policies that have sought to promote gender equality
  4. Explore factors that may explain variation in men’s attitudes and behaviors


Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS), Vietnam will provide technical assistance and project coordination on the development of the study design, study tools, implementation of the quantitative study in Vietnam and analysis of the research findings.

The survey was conducted in Hung Yen from August 3rd to 10th 2011 and in Can Tho from August 17th to 26th 2011. In total, 1424 men were approached and interviewed, including 719 in Hung Yen and 705 in Can Tho. The sample was drawn representatively from 16 rural communes/urban wards in 4 districts of these two provinces.


Photo: Interviewers are checking on questionnaire


Photo: Reasearch team in Hung Yen

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