x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Majority of UAE residents have no gender preference for babies

Twenty-six per cent of respondents show a preference for a baby boy and 16 per cent for a baby girl. The other 58 per cent give no preference.

You can only have one baby, the survey says. So what's it to be, blue or pink?

More than half of the 760 Nabd Al Arab survey respondents say they have no preference when it comes to the gender of their baby.

The results are a reflection of the growing opportunities for women in the country, says Dr Souad Al Oraimi, a professor of gender and development at UAE University.

"It means that now parents consider the two genders equal," Dr Al Oraimi says. "Women are now capable of taking care of themselves. They have access to education, they can work and fulfil their potential, so they are equally valued by society."

Twenty-six per cent of respondents show a preference for a baby boy and 16 per cent for a baby girl. The other 58 per cent give no preference.

"These are really impressive results," says Rima Sabban, an assistant sociology professor at Zayed University.

"It shows that the woman's active role is being recognised. Society is getting modernised and women can now generate money to help the family.

"At the end of the day they're making a difference, so there's no reason why someone would choose a boy over a girl."

But men's and women's preferences were very different.

Thirty per cent of men say they would rather have a baby boy compared with 21 per cent of women, while only 12 per cent of men show preference for a girl, against 24 per cent of women.

But Dr Oraimi says that the numbers should be approached with caution.

"I still see a preference for boys in our society," she says. "This is part of the traditional thinking and the only thing that can change this is time.

"It all depends on how quickly society develops and the UAE is moving rapidly."

A 2011 Gallup survey of more than 1,000 respondents in the US showed 40 per cent of respondents would prefer a boy to a girl if they were only to have one child.

 

mismail@thenational.ae