Gender Bias in Child Care and Child Health: Global Patterns

Intended audience: The information is targeted primarily at health care professionals that have the power to educate society on proper behavior towards their children. However, the article would be useful to the government officials and international organizations aiming to improve the social politics in emerging countries.

Writer background: Khera et al. are medicine specialists focusing on health care policies that work in different countries, mostly in Southern Asia.

Writer’s angle: The authors have made a valuable comparison of child discrimination trends regarding different countries. Their research of pediatric care practices combined with the notes on culture and socioeconomic conditions helps to determine primary reasons for such inequality.

The one-sentence summary

Khera et al. (2014) offer statistics on child health care practices, which reveal that countries like India, China, and several others have more males than females due to a range of practices targeted at mistreating girls below the age of 5.

The one-paragraph summary

Khera et al. (2014) state that some countries practice unequal approaches towards children under 5 years old regarding health care. India and China are among the countries that have the biggest issue associated with this problem. Other countries in the Asian region include Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Korea, and Vietnam. Some of the discriminative practices include gender-selective abortions and the lower rate of recognition of female children’s need in health treatment procedures. Girls under 5 years old often have a lower weight due to malnourishment, and they do not receive as much vaccination or other treatment. Other parts of the world associated with this issue include South America and Africa. The authors link such male preference to culture specifics and poor socioeconomic state, yet the latter is not a rule in some regions.

The multiple-paragraph summary

Khera et al. (2014) discuss the reasons behind the high female child mortality in some parts of the world. They have determined that in Asia, despite the equal possibilities of health care access, girls under 5 years old are much less likely to receive treatment than boys. Researchers associate this trend with sociocultural norms, in which males are preferable.

Researchers focused on collecting reports from all over the world that included one of the pre-determined text markers associated with child gender discrimination in the health care sector. They found that the issue was the most pressing in the Asian region, specifically in India and China. These two countries received a separate review with many details regarding the topic.

India is the country that has the highest male preference, resulting in families trying to conceive and raise sons instead of daughters. Despite the initiatives taken by the government during the past couple of decades targeted at education and legislation improvement, the country keeps one of the highest rates of young female mortality, and the number of girls is much smaller than the one of boys. The interesting fact is that the educated and relatively wealthy community in India is the one that practices the most cases of child gender discrimination.

China had a one-child policy that predicated its demographic issues. The culture of this country also favors males, so parents tried to get rid of daughters. The attempts were associated both with abortion practices and child abandonment. There are also issues with immunization and access to health care services by young girls, yet the data is not very excessive since it mostly concerns rural areas.

Other countries that have similar problems in the Asian region are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, and South Korea. Their culture also dictates the prevalence of men as the right choice. High mortality rates, poor treatment quality, and low diagnostic effort are among the most common problems associated with gender discrimination in these countries. Neglect and lower health care expenditures are also common in Egypt, Tunisia, and several countries in South America.

The researchers conclude that raising awareness and changing policies is a way to tackle this problem. Educating mothers appear to have the best outcomes regarding this issue, unlike the growth of economic stability, as it was perceived before. The government should also make an effort to change legislation to control such discriminative practices. The problem calls for a massive cultural shift in the mindset of Asian people.

Your reaction

The article reveals a very important subject that cannot be ignored in the modern world. The authors have provided a lot of statistical information that supports their main argument. The article also has several diagrams which show the difference between countries regarding child gender discrimination. I agree with the statement that concludes the article that major changes should be made to improve the situation. However, I believe that the authors did not cover enough the cultural reasoning behind the issue. For instance, in Asian culture, it is common that women leave home when they get married and take all their belongings with them (Mittra & Kumar, 2004, p. 318). They have little chance of getting married without a material base, and they do not help their elderly parents, which is costly for their families.


Khera, R., Jain, S., Lodha, R., & Ramakrishnan, S. (2014). Gender bias in child care and child health: Global patterns. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 99, 369-374. Web.

Mittra, S., & Kumar, B. (2004). Encyclopedia of women in South Asia: India. Delhi, India: Kalpaz Publications.