The Influence of Social Media Discussion on Son Preference in Azerbaijan: Reinforcing Norms, Bargaining With Patriarchy, Space for Dissent

Katy E. Pearce, Dana Donohoe, Kristen Barta, Jessica Vitak


Son preference and sex selection of fetuses is a feminist issue, as reproductive choices are tied to women’s agency. We present a study of women in Azerbaijan, where a strong norm of son preference dominates reproductive decisions. Having a male child is one of the few ways of increasing women’s power. We find that women-only social media groups’ discussion of son preference and sex-selective behaviors provide women with exposure to others conforming to norms, some that reluctantly conform to norms, as well as those who deviate from son-preference norms. We posit that exposure to more attitudes may have an effect on social norms related to son preference.


Azerbaijan, son preference, male preference, social media, social norms

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