Girls top charts in battle of the sexes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 April, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 April, 1994, 12:00am

BABY girls are beating boys in the popularity stakes, according to a survey by the Family Planning Association.

The report published yesterday, which involved 1,681 married women, said almost 28 per cent wanted more girls in their family, while a mere 14.9 per cent said they wanted more boys.

The result, which flies in the face of conventional wisdom that boys are more popular, appeared to baffle the investigators behind the report.

''The survey does not offer any explanations for the results and we can only speculate as to what the reasons could be,'' said Dr Oswald Siu Tsun-pui.

''Maybe if the family has one son then they [the parents] want to have more girls because they think they would be better at looking after them in old age,'' he said.

The executive director of the association, Dr Margaret Kwan Shuk-wa, said the result showed a conflict between traditional Chinese attitudes and more modern ideas being imported from the West.

''The survey shows that more and more mothers want to have girls, but at the same time it also shows that more attention is given to a boy's education than a girl's,'' she said.

The survey, carried out in 1992, covered a comprehensive range of issues, such as attitudes to family planning, sex education, and knowledge and preference of different types of contraception.

The first such survey was carried out in 1967, and they have been repeated every five years.

The chairman of the group carrying out the survey, Dr Lam Tai-hing, said questioners had deliberately avoided asking whether a couple would want a girl or a boy if they could only have one child.

He said it was ''more sensitive'' to ask what the woman would ideally like if she had three children.

''If we ask only about one child then they will say, 'Oh, I want a boy', but this way they can actually reveal more of their actual thinking or preference,'' Dr Lam said.

Condoms were the most widely known and understood form of contraception, with 40 per cent of the respondents saying they used them.

Female sterilisation at 21.9 per cent, followed closely by the pill at 19.8 per cent, were the next most popular forms of contraception.

The Family Planning Association said that with so many families in Hong Kong relying on condoms, the Government ought to take swift action to control the standard of the contraceptives.