Changing Attitude Towards Child Sex Preference

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CHANGING ATTITUDE TOWARDS SEX PREFERENCE AS OLD AGE SECURITY AMONG NIGERIAN OLDER PERSONS

BY

AJIBOYE, OLANREWAJU EMMANUEL(Ph.D)

Department of Sociology, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos.

Abstract

This paper focuses on the intensity of preference for sons over daughters in anticipation of old age security both physically and financially, and its impact on the care and support/ well-being of the elderly in Nigeria in general, and in particular among the Yoruba of Southwest. The paper examines the impact of social change on child sex preference as old age security. Before delving into the theme of the paper, the concept of social change was briefly discussed. The reasons for having children generally are discussed, child sex preference among the elderly were equally analyzed; the pattern it took before now, the changes that have occurred and the attitude of parents toward child sex preference as old age security in the contemporary Nigerian society were equally examined. The effects of sex preference and other socio-economic factors on the status of the elderly and its implications for the family were mentioned. Various literature and theoretical models on the subject matter were reviewed and finally, a general conclusion was drawn.

Introduction

Startling transformations have occurred all over the world, particularly on the mode of caring and supporting of older persons and there are a number of important issues, which arise as a result of these transformations and the major structural shift in the population. One of these issues is the concern of social gerontologists for the needs of older people for support in the society. Although, it should be mentioned at this juncture that this transformation (that is, social change) affects different people in different ways, depending on sex, location, size of cohort, economic resources (individual, familial and national), norms inherited from the past and individual’s live experiences and personality. For example, marital status and earlier patterns of childbearing are significant factors influencing the nature of the support available in old age. While co-residence of older persons and adult children is common in many developing countries, the tendency worldwide is for this arrangement to become less common. This has direct consequences for economic security, especially in the numerous societies (and particularly, their rural sectors), where pensions are paid only to a small proportion of older persons who are eligible because of earlier employment in the former sectors or few older persons who were able to save or invest for their old age. Even in countries where pensions are more generally available, the burden of an ageing population is increasingly being regarded as unsustainable, particularly since there is an increasing tendency for those able to do so to take early retirement. For many, especially women, there is a real threat of poverty in old-age, and this problem may be exacerbated by social exclusions and the deteriorating health conditions experienced by many older persons particularly, women at more advanced ages. Care of the frail and disabled becomes increasingly problematic, both in terms of stress placed on care providers and care-givers and also the mobilization of the appropriate resources of families, agencies and programmes to meet even the basic needs of older persons. According to Peil (1991), as life expectancy rises, young couples are more likely to be called upon to provide for their older parents than these parents were at the same stage of the life cycle, at a time when increasing emphasis on educating one’s children, rampant inflation and widespread unemployment of young adults make adequate provisions for older parents difficult. The situation among older people without children of their own were even more pathetic. For instance, old people who have no living children tend to risk the chances of...
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