KINGSTON, Ontario, Dec. 19 (UPI) — When couples begin to think about having children, men want boys and women want girls, a Canadian study says.
Researchers at Queen’s University in Ontario say they were surprised when their study revealed a strong gender bias, since they had predicted they would find evidence of a well-established contemporary culture of gender neutrality.
“Gender neutrality — a lack of preference — is now a standard cultural norm embraced within most wealthy developed countries like Canada,” Lonnie Aarssen, a Queen’s biology professor and co-author of the study, said.
Seeking to explain the unanticipated results of his study, Aarssen said he thinks they are consistent with the notion that people have a strong intrinsic desire to leave something of themselves behind, a so-called meme, for the future.
“Our results show that men today envision this through sons while women visualize it through daughters,” Aarssen said.
This is in contrast to historical preference by both men and women for sons, based on the evolutionary principle that males have a nearly limitless capacity to father future offspring and advance the family line, Aarssen said.
“Now that women are empowered like never before in history, they are free to anticipate and realize their vision for legacy, expressly through opportunities now more widely available to their own gender,” he said.