Boys' careers considered more important than girls'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 July, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 July, 1998, 12:00am

Parents are more ambitious for their sons to do well in careers than their daughters, according to a survey released yesterday.

About half of 871 couples interviewed last year said that boys should be educated to at least university level.

But only about one-third had the same expectations for girls, according to the survey from the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong.

'We did not follow up why this may be the case but it is probably because in traditional thinking, boys go further in education,' executive director Dr Susan Fan Yun-sun said.

Researchers interviewed 1,511 married women and 871 of their partners and also found there was a trend for men to be more likely to want to have baby boys, whereas women were more likely to want to have girls.

The survey of people between 15 and 49 is the seventh in a series launched in 1967 by the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong.

The association extended it to men for the first time last year to understand their attitudes to family planning issues.

Meanwhile, Professor Lam Tai-hing, one of the organisers of the questionnaire, said they were concerned that some women had given up using contraception because of fears over the side effects of taking the pill.

Of 194 women interviewed who had stopped using contraception for various reasons, 15 per cent said they had given it up because of fears for their health in taking the oral contraceptive.

Researchers also found that 10 per cent of the women interviewed had never heard of a pap smear test, which can detect signs of cervical cancer, and 40 per cent of them had never had such a test.