Assessing gender discrimination during infancy and childhood using twins: The case of rural Spain, 1750-1950
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
This article uncovers the existence of discriminatory practices in pre-industrial Spain by examining the fate of twins. The analysis of the complete parish registers of a small rural area (17 villages) shows that female twins were discriminated both at birth and during infancy and childhood. Not only the sex ratio of twins at baptism was extremely unbalanced, but discrimination continued throughout infancy and childhood and resulted in female excess mortality, despite that males are biologically more vulnerable. Although their extremely high mortality rates question the idea that twins constituted an exogenous shock to family decisions due to their impact of the family budget, studying twins helps shedding more light on discriminatory patterns because many families prioritised male twins to enhance their survival chances.