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Since 2003, thousands of Vietnamese girls are missing: social constructions related to the sex of children lead some couples to use abortions in order to give birth to a son. The expansion of migration options for daughters have a positive effect on their status, but they cannot substitute the central spiritual value of sons. Gendered social model differ from political rationales seeking to offset dramatic consequences on the population structure. Government’s projects to tackle prenatal sex selection are unevenly understood and implemented at the local level; they address discriminatory practices rather than the root causes of son preference.This article mobilizes interviews of couples and local political officials conducted in 2012-2013 in three Vietnamese provinces. It aims at analyzing the reproduction of son preference representations in the current context, despite state awareness campaigns to change behaviors.


  • Sex-selective abortions
  • social constructs
  • public policies
  • son preference
  • girls’ value
  • Vietnam
Valentine Becquet
Bich Ngoc Luu
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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