Resources, Family Power, and Gender Preference in Minya, Egypt

Kathryn M. Yount, Emory University
Constance A. Nathanson, Columbia University

Researchers debate whether, in highly patriarchal settings, women's access to and control over resources in the family will alter their family power and gender preferences. We adapt a theory of gender stratification to explore the influence of a woman's customary and non-customary social and economic resources and marital household structure on her family power and gender preferences in Minya, Egypt. Residence with parents-in-law, brothers-in-law, and the husband decrease women's influence in decisions pertaining to children. On average, women in endogamous marriages still prefer sons over daughters and have greater influence in life course decisions than do women in non-endogamous marriages. More educated women report weaker son preference and greater influence in daily and life course decisions, but more educated women still tend to prefer sons. We discuss the institutional and demographic circumstances under which women's empowerment is likely to improve the relative well being of girls.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 24: Attitudes and Expectations about Childbearing and Childrearing