Gender Selection and Society

  • Jodie B. Ullman
  • Linda S. Fidell


The preference for boys in general and firstborn boys in particular crosses the boundaries of time and culture. Almost every major study reveals a preference for boys, from the writings of Aristotle (Nentwig, 1981) to the present, and around the globe, from the developing societies of India, Morocco, and rural Bangladesh (Bairagi & Langsten, 1985) and the Asian societies of China (Goody, Duly, Beeson, & Harrison, 1981) and Korea (Arnold, 1985) to Europe and the United States. Within this country, preference for boys is found among both men and women (Fide11, Hoffman, & KeithSpeigel, 1979; Gilroy & Stienbacher, 1983) and among people from all walks of life. It finds concrete expression in the requests of middle-class Americans for boys to adopt, and in the abortion of female fetuses in China (Nentwig, 1981).


Birth Order Young Sibling Ordinal Position Male Sperm Firstborn Child 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jodie B. Ullman
    • 1
  • Linda S. Fidell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCalifornia State UniversityNorthridgeUSA

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