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All of the countries having highly skewed sex ratio are skewed towards a preference for male children. Some of the worst examples are China, due to one child policy and expectations that sons would provide for their parents in old age, and India, due to custom of bride's parents paying a dowry to the groom.

Could there be a country that favors girls?

It doesn't have to be that boys are aborted or left to die, but just a place where girls have better access to healthcare and education. Why would a country practice that? All the countries in the world, that I know of, either favor sons or treat both genders equally.

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jul 17 '17 at 3:43
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps you should change the accepted answer to one that at least has positive amount of votes. $\endgroup$ – user32463 Jul 20 '17 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Steve: No question is Sexist, but this question is made Sexist by the answer choice of the questioner. How much logic do you expect from someone who discriminates based on gender? $\endgroup$ – user28294 Aug 5 '17 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ @HoldOffHunger just enough to accept an answer the community considers good instead of accepting a hilariously flawed thought experiment. $\endgroup$ – user32463 Aug 7 '17 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ -1 for the idiotic accepted answer. $\endgroup$ – ksjohn Aug 18 '17 at 10:28

21 Answers 21

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Note: what is natural/from evolution is not always good.

Short answer: There is none, and there won't be any.

I learned from evolution that there can be no such country, not for many centuries at least.

Because:

Although humans are a species with high Male Parent Investment (MPI), it happened "recently" and males in evolutionary psychology are wired/supposed to go around and mate as often as possible. This may change over many many generations.

Women on the other hand can take care of a single child at a time.

Let us do the math:

50% of Joe's/Jane's genes who's born in 200,000 BC will go to his son and his daughter.

His daughter although prolific, spread Joe's genes to a handful of children.

While his son, assuming he was prolific, can theoretically have countless children because he can have many mates, see polygamy was the norm then.

That a Joe with brain wired to preferred educating and grooming sons and not his daughters to be of high status will have higher chances to spread his genes than a Joe who did the opposite.

Males at that time didn't have equal chance of mating as females. Females where in an advantagious position which in evolution forces parents to "care" more about their male offsprings, which translates in our conginitive brains today to "prefer male children".

Their offspring will subconsciously (hard wired) prefer male offspring too.

The bright side:

Seeing how the society is today in the developed nations, this tendency is supposed to diminish in just thousands of years. Given a selection pressure worked against Joes who prefer sons.

At the end

There will be no country that prefer females over males if things continues as they are today, but for sure the subconscious preference should disappear in the next 100,000 years.

Conscious preference should disappear much faster.

Think about:

Countries that prefer a gender, is not the same as individuals preference. Individuals with different socioeconomical status prefer (subconsciously) different genders in many societies.

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    $\begingroup$ what's funny though is that if a species on the whole wants to efficiently grow their population, it really needs to favour girls particularly, possibly even over boys. As you've already said, girls are only able to have a handful of children, however, girls are also the gender which actually has the children - the % of populaion that is female is a limiting factor in population growth. On the other hand, a relatively small number of males would be required, so it would certainly be possible for a society to decide to maintain 90% proportion of females, and kill off all the excess male babies $\endgroup$ – danl Jul 14 '17 at 8:57
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    $\begingroup$ -1 because the math is just incorrect. The average percentage of the genetic material that a person manages to pass on to the next generation is exactly the same for men and women. After all everybody has exactly one dad and one mother. The variance for boys is bigger, but the average is the same, there is no evolutionary pressure to favour boys. Or to put it differently: Joe's son is also much more likely to be a complete dud and not spread any of his genes. $\endgroup$ – BlindKungFuMaster Jul 14 '17 at 10:01
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    $\begingroup$ You have to take into account that the likelihood of mating is different for each sex. In your ancestral tribe it might well be the case that the men get killed more often hunting or fighting. Or they end up being low status. $\endgroup$ – Carlos Jul 14 '17 at 10:08
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not a scientist, but your logic doesn't make sense to me. All offspring has a potential of propagating genes, and in general parents care for all of their children. Gendered favorism or sexist violence we can see today is clearly a social problem, not a genetic one. Also let's not confuse the order of things. In evolution, there is usually no intent to propagate genes, rather behaviors that do tend to be reinforced over time. As such, high sex drive in males might have been more reinforced than in females, since a woman can only carry one child at a time. For a woman the quality of... $\endgroup$ – user40468 Jul 14 '17 at 11:33
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    $\begingroup$ Your numbers argument would actually make "more girls than boys" more likely: 100 girls and 100 boys can get the same number of children as 100 girls and 10 boys. So for the tribe (or the species as a whole) the 90 other boys are "superfluous" and species with more female than male offspring should have had an evolutionary edge. Apparently, evolution isn't just about the number of offspring you can produce... $\endgroup$ – nikie Jul 16 '17 at 8:35
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Yes?

There easily could be. There just needs to be a reason!

There are a few fictional ones, currently Menzoberranzan (D&D) jumps to mind. The reigning deity favors females, so female drow have a much easier time in life.

From the Wonderwoman, the Amazonians are a famous fictional society consisting of only women. They have their own reasons.

In a more nonfiction sense, a major reason to value females is population. If we found a new hospitable planet, the most efficient way to populate it would be to send mostly women, and only a handful of men, to keep the gene pool stirred.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 But how does "only a handful of men" versus more women stir the gene pool? $\endgroup$ – NVZ Jul 13 '17 at 21:49
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    $\begingroup$ @NVZ I think he means "handful of men" in contrast to "one very virile man". Only one man is needed to impregnate countless women; however, multiple men (i.e. at least a handful) would be needed so that the genes of the secondary generations don't all stem from a single male source. $\endgroup$ – fenix d.Anconia Jul 13 '17 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ @fenixd.Anconia Oh. Okay. I get it. $\endgroup$ – NVZ Jul 13 '17 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ @NVZ Also a man can impregnate more than one woman every nine months, whereas a woman can only be pregnant once at any given time (carrying a single or multiple children). You need a larger number of women to be "incubators" while the smaller number of men can still impregnate other women. $\endgroup$ – Jane S Jul 13 '17 at 22:51
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    $\begingroup$ @fenixd.Anconia You would never send just one man. The probability is too high that this one man dies before the survival of the colony is secured. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Jul 16 '17 at 20:59
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There are some ethnic minority people in my country (Vietnam) that are matriarchies (such as: chăm, ê đê, giarai, mơ nông, k-ho, ba na). That means the female is who is powerful in the family. A male when married will join into his wife's family. So they would like to have daughters instead of sons.

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To be contrarian to other answers: In a male dominated society, allow males to have harems of up to 10 wives, and to own as many concubines as they wish (none of which are allowed to become pregnant; if they do, the pregnancy is aborted).

Allow females to be sold (e.g. the Bible explicitly offers advice to men on how to price their daughters). Allow early testing for male/female fetuses, and insist that men have no more than two male heirs, but can have as many female offspring as they wish, and can sell these girls to other men.

If any additional male heirs are not aborted, and are brought to term, they become slaves for life. Many more women than men will be produced; so the ratio of men to women will remain 1 to 10 or more.


Late add: To address issues brought up in comment (which was moved to chat):

  • I am being contrarian, IMO the OP was fishing for ways to elevate women; I think there is a way to achieve the result by doing the opposite. I read the Bible, and although I do not believe in any God, I do believe it accurately portrays a real and stable society in which women are property: There are numerous examples of sexual slavery, the selling of women, permission to rape servants and so on. Such societies are not impossible or unstable.

  • Better access to healthcare: I presumed if women were treated as livestock then they would have a monetary value and it would be in the best interest of their owners (men) to keep them healthy. For the same reason, IRL in America, race horses get far better medical care than homeless people, and millions of pet dogs get better medical care than homeless people. Of course the author could still making the killing of a female illegal, or give females some limited set of human rights their owner must provide, to whatever extent the author wishes.

  • Better access to education: I admit I forgot this part! However, it follows naturally from my premise: if 90% of the population is female and owned by males; they are going to be doing all the work; including the work that demands education. As IRL, rich men in this society would be running things as managers; they would not be the engineers, technicians, nurses, doctors and so on in the society; or at least the majority of workers in this society would be females. That requires education. Since higher education results in greater value; it is in the best interest of a male to get his females as educated as possible, for future sale or lease as workers.

If women are in charge of everything, the have a great deal of control over what men see and how events are interpreted. They are probably the soldiers and managers of companies, the military, and government agencies. Just because they are not the CEOs of those operations does not preclude them from wielding significant levels of power to shape their society.

  • Slavery of Excess Male Offspring: I'll just abandon this idea in favor of a better one I had: All offspring must be examined at birth, any males brought to term beyond the legal limit of two would be humanely sterilized; perhaps by amputation of the testicles. The father is still responsible for caring for such males for life; but they will not be allowed to marry or take wives. Upon examination and verification that an infant is female; the female can be "marked" by permanent tattoo, or alternatively a long-lasting dye, like those used in some countries to indicate that a person has already voted: The reason for this is to prevent any substitution of a recently born female infant for a male infant. Even a man with minimal training can tell the difference between a 1-day-old infant and a 7-day-old infant; so no female can be examined twice to hide an extra male heir. Further, any man caught trying to do this can be stripped of all of his property and sterilized.

The point of this is to maintain the ratio of men to women at 1:10, the men are in charge but it takes 10 women to support each man. Additional population controls can be instituted if necessary to control the population and retain this ratio; e.g. only a single male heir is allowed.

Alright, I'm done with this exercise in thinking outside the box; and that is all it was, a stray rebellious thought to answer the question. Based on the tone of some comments, I encourage people to remember that me writing about fictional slavery, rape or murder does not imply I am pro-slavery, pro-rape, or pro-murder!

Note this question had three requests: First that a country must favor girls in birth ratio or prefer that girls be born, then secondly and thirdly the uncorrelated requirements that girls have "better" access to healthcare and better access to education. Those conditions do not go hand-in-hand, but I am interpreting "better" to mean more certain than that of many women IRL.

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jul 17 '17 at 3:46
  • $\begingroup$ @ksjohn You can read the chat, I answered precisely that objection. I will add it to my answer. $\endgroup$ – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Aug 18 '17 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ @ksjohn I met the requirements set forth by the OP. You seem to be confused about the difference between a fictional setting and real life, and the meaning of "hand-in-hand". My whole point was to describe a society where women all over the planet are better off than today, IRL but are, indeed, even more oppressed! The OP did not ask for female equality, just more favorable terms in birth, health care and education. If you truly cannot tolerate surprises in fiction, I suspect you should avoid reading a site dedicated to creative people building alternate worlds. $\endgroup$ – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Aug 18 '17 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ @ksjohn There is a difference between the OP's intent and the rules stated. I think the OP was fishing for ways to elevate women, probably IRL because that is what was referenced and the elevation of women in fiction is extremely easy. So I intentionally chose to think opposite of the way the OP was hoping (as I inferred it), and found a solution that met the letter of what was asked without meeting the intent. Because it was fun. Which I am guessing is something to which you are opposed. $\endgroup$ – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Aug 18 '17 at 15:23
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There are a few tribes here and there which are matriarchal. Consider the Mosuo from rural Tibet.

Imagine a society without fathers; without marriage (or divorce); one in which nuclear families don’t exist. Grandmother sits at the head of the table; her sons and daughters live with her, along with the children of those daughters, following the maternal bloodline. Men are little more than studs, sperm donors who inseminate women but have, more often than not, little involvement in their children’s upbringing.

The linked article does not explicitly say whether the Mosuo claim boys are worth less, but from what is said that's certainly implicit.

Women own and inherit property, sow crops in this agrarian society, and run the households – cooking, cleaning and child-rearing. The men provide strength, ploughing, building, repairing homes, slaughtering animals and helping with big familial decisions, although the final say is always with Grandmother. Although men have no paternal responsibilities – it is common for women not to know who the father of their children is, and there is no stigma attached to this – they have considerable responsibility as uncles to their sisters’ children. In fact, along with elderly maternal great-uncles, who are often the households’ second-in-charge, younger uncles are the pivotal male influence on children.

Basically, this culture values girls more than boys, in so far as the family unit allows women more rights, revolves around the matriarchal line, and is headed by female elders who make executive decisions.

So, could there be a culture which values girls more than boys? Yes. The other question about access to healthcare and education is more specific and doesn't seem relevant to the Mosuo case, as they in general don't seem to care much for education.

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Canada comes closest right now because of their approach to gender equality. There's a video on youtube of what children in different countries think about growing up. The Canadian girl is the only girl who feels sorry for boys because she can do things they can't. From a psychological perspective I think this is huge. She includes starting a business in her elaboration on her point too so she isn't just talking about getting pregnant. I think the video is by natgeo.

Canadian government is apparently working very hard to make the number of women in the government equal to the number of men in the government. I'm American so I don't actually know if this is actually happening, or if this is strange anti-Canadian propaganda. The little girl's response makes me think this is an action the Canadian government is actually taking.

Still, at best this is just a case of accidentally making girls "more equal" while trying to fine tune gender equality.

A broader example of societies which favor women would be societies that don't have them. These societies would have been faced with an existential crisis related to birth rates. This would have made women far more valuable to them than to most other societies at the time. The issue is that this would lead to things like "aggressively importing" women instead of leading to women's rights. Women will be more valued than men in places like China reasonably soon because of this. Too many men and not enough women rarely ends well.

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    $\begingroup$ I would like to see that video, can you please add the link to it in your answer? I think that would be a positive think. +1 $\endgroup$ – Marcello Miorelli Jul 14 '17 at 9:26
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    $\begingroup$ @marcellomiorelli I'll look for it and try to add it later today. $\endgroup$ – user32463 Jul 14 '17 at 22:19
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    $\begingroup$ How would that be anti-Canadian propaganda? $\endgroup$ – DividedByZero Jul 16 '17 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ @AleksandurMurfitt 'Merica's got a weird political thing happening now. Equality of opportunity vs equality of outcome is a pretty polarizing topic. The dominant American philosophy is success via free market competition. Every time that gets messed with it's a whole big thing. Look up some of the propaganda that happened when America made social security a thing. People thought that was the socialist end of the world. $\endgroup$ – user32463 Jul 17 '17 at 22:28
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    $\begingroup$ @marcellomiorelli I think this is the video. youtube.com/watch?v=2B3ea7IGwLA $\endgroup$ – user32463 Jul 17 '17 at 22:29
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Yes, if the government incentivises it.

Consider China's one child policy. This had the result of many people preferring to have a boy and so less girls were born.

Having seen this effect, the government could have implemented an additional policy that gave people generous rewards if they had a baby girl in order to balance out the gender ratio. If this policy wasn't carefully balanced, it could have lead to people preferring a girl to a boy.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding! If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Jul 14 '17 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ Preference for boys was not simply from one child policy. This policy simply limited number. Preference for boys is older. It came from long tradition that only male is a proper heir, and from laws that only allowed land inheritance if the child was male. Now these laws may no longer be in place ("I'm not sure), but ages of such culture have consequences. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jul 14 '17 at 8:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot Yes indeed. Rewards for girls might have had to be very generous to counteract the cultural reasons to prefer boys, but you only need to influence around 10% of people and it tips the balance in the other direction. $\endgroup$ – Richard Jul 14 '17 at 8:30
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    $\begingroup$ Actually equal numbers of boys and girls were born; girls were aborted, sold or just killed to ensure the only child was a boy. Read about the tradition of female infanticide in China en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_infanticide_in_China and about gender-selective abortion in China en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex-selective_abortion#China In Chinese culture, a male child and his wife help care for and provide for his elderly parents; a female is married off and does not, she "belongs" to her husband's family. So a financial incentive exists, too. $\endgroup$ – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Jul 14 '17 at 11:30
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Actually the root reason why there is a male favoring in most of "modern" societies is connected with the (wrong!) idea the female is "just" a (hopefully fertile) field male has to "inseminate".

The discovery sexual act is needed to procreation completely overturned balance from matriarchal societies to patriarchal ones; if you add to this that, till very recent times, women needed males for muscle and protection (males were expendable! see: "women and children first!") the idea a male son would "continue the lineage" much better than a female is clear and "obvious".

As nothing of this is actually true (surely not the biologic part, but also the need for stronger muscles is not so felt anymore; as RAH once said: "wheels under luggage did more for women freedom than all suffragettes"), the customs are slowly changing (note: dowry, now alive almost only in India, was a worldwide custom no more than a century ago) just follow the path and differences will be watered down to oblivion (but it could take centuries!).

What You need to do to have a female-preferring world is to revert again child "ownership" giving women complete control not only over when and how to give birth to a child, but also to his/her nurture... it could really suffice just return to matrilinear families (child takes the surname of the mother). All the rest would follow naturally.

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  • $\begingroup$ For your second paragraph, I wonder how much of that was "why spare the men who lost the battle" and the victors not wanting other men, especially those who lost, to "soil" their women and lineage. $\endgroup$ – user39368 Jul 14 '17 at 9:48
  • $\begingroup$ @X22T7V: actually most of it is to preserve progeny and the chance to recover for heavy losses. It was never meant to be used in battle (men who severely lost a battle or, worse, the war, were mostly dead or slaves anyway, along with male children). This was meant mainly for "accidents" like floods, fires, quakes or, much later, also sea disasters (e.g.: the Titanic). Fact is in primitive (and not-so-primitive) societies males were expendable, women were the "survival guarantee" of tribe. Once women were not fertile anymore they became "expendable" (see Inuit and Amazonian customs). $\endgroup$ – ZioByte Jul 14 '17 at 14:27
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I would read some classic science fiction, particularly Ursula Le Guin who is a genius of a writer.

A world along these lines is described in the short story "The matter of Seggri". If you want to write anthropological / sociologically interesting science fiction, particularly with reference to gender. Then you should also read "The Left Hand of Darkness" by Ursula Le Guin.

In fact if you want to write this type of science fiction I would recommend reading EVERYTHING by Ursula Le Guin. "The Dispossessed" and "The Word for World is Forest" I would also consider essential reading, although these books don't deal with gender (as directly).

I have read a much more recent book which was clearly heavily influenced by Le Guin and describes ANOTHER very pro female world... but for now the name of the title and author escape me. It's very good though.. I will try to remember.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding.SE! This is an interesting list of book recommendations, though it's pretty heavily focused on one single author. Could you please explain the basic plot and the most important aspects of the books that might help the author and readers of the question without having to actually read the books? Answers here should answer the question and not require further research. Book recommendations and links should be for interested users who want further/ more detailed information. Please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Jul 14 '17 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ In another fictional work, Glory Season, girls are preferred, because girls are usually clones of their mother. Clones are considered more trustworthy than randoms. $\endgroup$ – gmatht Jul 14 '17 at 18:19
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Population Decline & High Infant Mortality

(e.g. because of extreme resource shortage)

A society in population decline due to high infant mortality might favour girls over boys.

The reason being that men can go around impregnating at will, but a woman is a lot more limited in the number of children she can bear. So the optimal number of women vs men for the purposes of continuing the future generations would require a higher number of girls to live to adulthood.

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I've read about LDS communities which permit having multiple wives.

As they strongly prefer to mate inside the group, there's enormous pressure to drive boys out of the group as they get of age, for the older and powerful men to avoid competing with them for a limited pool of brides.

I can imagine how they would favor girl babies knowing that girl have much greater chance of sticking around.

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  • $\begingroup$ To correct your point - these are not LDS communities. Despite what they may claim they are neither permitted nor sanctioned by the LDS church. They're often called "fundamentalist Mormons", due to living practices that the church taught in the early days. Interestingly enough, though, this echoes a comment made by my economics professor that polygamy is actually beneficial for women, because they can choose either an established male or a young guy with no real standing yet. $\endgroup$ – Wayne Werner Jul 14 '17 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ Reminds mee of the "Republicans" with the MAGA hats. The children are called "Lost Boys", you can google that. But I would not say it is beneficial for those women, because other aspects of society still oppress them. Favoring one gender is inherently oppressive, so I cannot imagine a gender-favoring society that would treat women fairly. $\endgroup$ – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 14 '17 at 21:54
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Yes, there is such a place: Rojava.

The persecution of women in the Middle East has been endemic and cruel, but the Revolutionary Feminism of Rojava is determined and militant. Rojava's military is known as the People's Protection Units (YPG), which is co-ed with men and women, and within it are the Women's Protection Units (YPJ), an all-women force. [*49] According to one journalist covering the Middle East, "But to see women from another Middle Eastern nation fighting -- and defeating -- ISIS in entirely female fighting units was remarkable." [*50] In the local councils and communes, women must have proportional representation, and most of the ministries, with the exception of the Women's Ministry, must have both male and female co-ministers. [*51] According to Article 27 of the Rojava Constitution: "Women have the inviolable right to participate in political, social, economic and cultural life." [*52] This is not mere moralizing about the issue. To quote Margaret Owen writing for PeaceFire in 2014...

"In every town and village there is a Women's House, where women and girls can access advice, counseling, protection, and shelter, in the face of many forms of gender based violence, honor killings, post-traumatic stress, and physical and mental health problems." [*53]

Source: http://anarchistrevolt.com/articles/rojava-the-anarchist-community-emerging-from-the-syrian-civil-war.html

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    $\begingroup$ That's very interesting but has nothing to do with this topic. The women are being given equal political power and some military roles, but that has nothing to do with gender preference at birth. $\endgroup$ – lly Jul 15 '17 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ @lly: To quote the spiritual leader of Rojava, Abdullah Öcalan, "the liberation and freedom of society is only possible through the analysis of phenomenon of woman, as well as her liberation and freedom." (Democratic Nation, 2016) But my answer is a list of material advantages unequally afforded to women and not men. $\endgroup$ – user28294 Jul 15 '17 at 14:54
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Parthenogenesis

Women are required to have babies. They have the wombs. Men are only required to provide sperm. We encourage men to have more presence in their children's lives (and wives' lives during pregnancy), but it's not actually a requirement.

We don't really know how to do it yet, but it seems at least theoretically possible to generate sperm-like genetics from eggs. Then two women could produce daughters. This is called parthenogenesis. The children would always be daughters because they'd always get two X chromosomes, as that's all that the women would have. To get sons, they'd need Y chromosomes from men.

If a society found out how to perform parthenogenesis practically, it could adopt it. Perhaps a country would create a haven for battered women and lesbians. Economies of scale might allow for it to be a generally affordable procedure. Every pregnancy would be planned.

Logic

Looked at logically, women are the constraining resource on producing children. So logical analysis already favors daughters. Favoring sons is an emotional analysis or it is based on factors other than reproduction. For example, sons are more useful in warfare, as they are bigger and stronger. So it makes sense for a war-oriented society to prefer sons. And of course, most societies have been war-oriented. If they weren't, they were taken over by a neighboring society which was.

A society that was generally peaceful and had parthenogenesis would be able to concentrate on daughters without giving up advantages important to them. And females use fewer calories than males. Buildings and doorways can be smaller, as women are. Women live longer and are less reckless.

A peaceful, logical society with parthenogenesis. How hard would that be?

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  • $\begingroup$ "logical analysis already favors daughters" ... and then you proceeded to present a logical case about under which circumstances sons might be favoured ("bigger and stronger" also helps with hunting and physical labour). Also, just looking at child-bearing ability only favours daughters if there aren't already sufficiently many females in the world to sustain desired population growth. All of your other claims about the advantages of women probably requires references. $\endgroup$ – NotThatGuy Jul 16 '17 at 18:51
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Sci-Fi answer (This has been addressed somewhat in the comments. I'm pulling those together in this answer, and adding some other ideas.)

  1. There are some animals where the mother provides the eggs, then leaves, and the father incubates the eggs and raises the young. (Seahorses and some birds come to mind.) If you had a human society like that, the gender roles would be largely reversed.

  2. Part of the preference for males is the need for laborers and fighters. So, have a society in which physical labor/fighting is despised/forbidden. That evens things out. (We're starting to see exactly that in 1st-world societies. Now introduce robots.) Or, have females be larger and more aggressive. (Some hokey sci-fi comes to mind. So the challenge would be doing that without it being farcical.)

  3. What if females usually had large litters instead of only 1 baby? Then your society might have the "human" equivalent of lion prides or grazer herds.

  4. What if the males were very unsociable, but the females were very sociable? And resources were scarce, and females were not to be trifled with? (We see this with elephants and hyenas.) Then you'd have male loners and a totally matriarchal society.

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This question has already been well answered enough that this will be buried, but it's worth noting that China is already an example of a country with a skewed preference for female children.

Obviously not true of the whole country, which possibly has a gender skew as bad as 6:5 in favor of boys from the combination of traditional agricultural culture and the former one-child policy, but

  • The high land prices in Shanghai have produced a population that's 23% senior citizens and has a 0.6 fertility rate. The ease and minor qualms concerning abortion mean that many mothers are able to prioritize daughters over sons, since in the present society they're considered more likely to be dutiful, stay close to home, and care for them in old age. It's offset by traditional bias among the more fertile migrant workers who visit the city, but it's still a real part of the culture here.

  • The old one-child policy has been essentially scrapped, but even during its heyday the government saw the inherent problems of massive gender disparities and permitted couples a second child if the first was a boy. Forcing the abortion of second boys or even mandating each couple produces at least one girl and no more than one boy would shunt the demographics majority female.

Why would any society do that, though? Surplus men are the cannon fodder for successful violence against outside groups. Outside of self-selection for old-age care in very peaceful environments, though, you're probably looking at some kind of Arabian, Mormon, or colonizing dystopia where wealthy-enough men are culling the boys to produce harems for each other or producing more female children on the homeworld to speed inexpensive seeding of new systems.

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Chickens

I have pet chickens, and have learned that among egg laying breeds the roosters tend to have very short lives and meet grim ends .

If a country or society or culture developed in which something which can be harvested (either sustainably or lethally) from only females became critically valuable, then girl babies would be more desirable than male babies.

While this strikes me as horrific and repulsive, never underestimate the motivations of greed (is it valuable enough?) and fear (will I die without it?) for humans.

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Oh, ours. Look at sheep, cows or chickens. How many rams or roosters do you observe? 95% of male farmyard animals are culled. Talk about unfair!

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"Could there be a country that favours baby girls?"

Yes.

Communities where land and power is passed down the female line are likely to favour baby girls. E.g. Bribri (Costa Rica). Not defined as a country but you can see how it could be possible.

Also of interest are the Tuareg matriarchal Muslim community.

6 Modern Societies Where Women Rule

Tuareg – The Mysterious Tribe Where Men Wear Veils And Women Lead The Family!

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A different reason for this was explored by Harlan Ellison, in his series of stories: A boy and his dog. It's not that women dominated, as much as men were becoming almost irrelevant due to sterility.

Arguably, a very few females dominate in some insect social orders, such as ants and bees, where the activity of the group is to support the queen.

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First I'd like to note that matriarchies are actually only rare in the modern world because of the missionaries of the Catholic Church, especially in the Americas and in the Pacific's Polynesian cultures female chiefs with many husbands were the norm until a few generations ago. As to creating a society that favours girl children from a patriarchy I can see three simple solutions, a population race, and a religious imperative, and something that's a less clear cut call it a racial imperative.

Population Race; in a society that has been heavily de-populated by a disaster of some description breeding females become a focus as the nation tries to rebuild its numbers this will mean that girls and young woman get special treatment to bring them to their breeding years in the best possible condition.

Religious Imperative; there are already a few religions in which women and not men play the main role, if a theocracy based around such a religion was to take over females of any age would be revered and held in higher regard than the males of that society.

Racial Imperative; this is a little more complex, it has overtones of the Population Race argument but is couched slightly differently. Imagine a world in which female children become relatively rare and childbirth relatively dangerous for mother and child both, women would then have to be afforded the greatest possible chance of bearing young as often and as safely as can be arranged if there are still going to be people around in a few generations.

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Reasons I haven't seen mentioned here yet:

  • Abnormally low fertility rates (or many failed pregnancies or high infant mortality)

    If most women just aren't fertile, you'd need a whole lot more of them to sustain the population size and thus girls could be favoured above boys.

    Perhaps as the result of chemical warfare or consuming products we genetically modified in a way we don't fully understand has permanently damaged fertility rates.

  • Abnormally low female to male birth ratio

    If let's say 1 in 100 or less babies naturally born are female, that would lead to a shortage of women and girls would be greatly favoured.

    This can be caused due to similar reasons as the above.

  • High risk of death from giving birth

    This would create 2 problems: women wouldn't want to have children because they don't want to die and women are unlikely to give birth more than once.

    If the risk of death is very high, this would quickly wipe out the human race, but a more reasonable risk and/or a much higher chance of twins, triplets, etc. could be sustainable.

    In either case, girls would be heavily favoured, as one man can impregnate many women and you'd need more women to get enough who want to have children.

  • Longer and/or more mentally or physically draining pregnancies

    Follows a similar argument to the above point, in that women would be demotivated from having children, and that would create a higher demand for them.

  • A fatal and widespread disease that affects only women

    This also creates a shortage of women and leads to there needing to be more of them (although this creates an interesting conflict in that any given person may not want to bear a girl due to the high risk of death).

  • A fatal and widespread disease that affects everyone

    While we may not want to counteract deaths (i.e. population decline) due to resource shortages (because more people will only make this problem worse), and deaths due to war might lead to favouring men, deaths that in no way discriminates based on gender in an otherwise thriving society, such as a disease, would lead to heavily favouring girls.

    The reason for this, as above, is because one man can impregnate many women, so the number of women would be the limiting factor for the extreme population growth that's required to counteract these deaths.

Most of these depend on the extremes - slightly offsetting one of these factors may not do much in terms of how people think about the value of girls versus boys, even if there is a strong logical preference one way or the other - there may need to be a fair amount of panic over the survival of the human race for the general public to change their preference.

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