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A 1931 photograph of four generations of mothers and daughters Doddy4GenerationsAug1931A.jpg
A 1931 photograph of four generations of mothers and daughters
Anastasia and Sophia Mannerheim, the daughters of Marshal Mannerheim Anastasia and Sofia.webp
Anastasia and Sophia Mannerheim, the daughters of Marshal Mannerheim

A daughter is a female offspring; a girl or a woman in relation to her parents. Daughterhood is the state of being someone's daughter. The male counterpart is a son. Analogously the name is used in several areas to show relations between groups or elements. From biological perspective, a daughter is a first degree relative. The word daughter also has several other connotations attached to it, one of these being used in reference to a female descendant or consanguinity. It can also be used as a term of endearment coming from an elder.


In patriarchal societies, daughters often have different or lesser familial rights than sons. A family may prefer to have sons rather than daughters and subject daughters to female infanticide. [1] In some societies it is the custom for a daughter to be 'sold' to her husband, who must pay a bride price. The reverse of this custom, where the parents pay the husband a sum of money to compensate for the financial burden of the woman and is known as a dowry. The payment of a dowry can be found in societies where women do not labour outside the home.

The number next to each box in the Table of Consanguinity indicates the degree of relationship relative to the given person. Table of Consanguinity showing degrees of relationship.svg
The number next to each box in the Table of Consanguinity indicates the degree of relationship relative to the given person.
First lady of the United States Betty Ford with her daughter Susan Ford Photograph of Betty Ford with Daughter, Susan Ford - NARA - 186845.tif
First lady of the United States Betty Ford with her daughter Susan Ford


In the United States, the birth rate is 105 sons to 100 daughters which has been the natural birth rate since the 18th century. In the US, prospective parents seeking to adopt a child display a slight preference for girls over boys. [2] In fertility clinics that enable sex preferences, daughters are usually preferred over sons. [3] In the traditions of various Abrahamic religions, Luluwa is regarded as the first daughter to have ever existed. [4]

Daughters in literature

The role of the daughter has been an important theme in literature, especially when exploring relationships between family members and gender roles. Through exploration of the relationship between children and their parents, readers can draw conclusions about the impact of parenting style on the growth and development of a child's character and personality.

Notable daughters whose character and development has been impacted by their parents in literature have been: [5]

Elizabeth Bennet Mr Bennet & Mrs Bennet (née Gardiner) Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen 1813
Jo March Marmee March Little Women Louisa May Alcott 1868
Francie NolanJohnny and Katie Nolan A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Betty Smith 1943
Scout Finch Atticus Finch To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee 1960
Meg Murry Alex and Kate Murry A Wrinkle In Time Madeleine L’Engle 1962
Astrid Magnussen Ingrid Magnussen and Klaus Anders White Oleander Janet Fitch 1999

See also

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Wife Female spouse; woman who is married

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Female infanticide is the deliberate killing of newborn female children. In countries with a history of female infanticide, the modern practice of gender-selective abortion is often discussed as a closely related issue. Female infanticide is a major cause of concern in several nations such as China, India and Pakistan. It has been argued that the low status in which women are viewed in patriarchal societies creates a bias against females.

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Bride burning is a form of domestic violence practiced in countries located on or around the Indian subcontinent. A category of dowry death, bride-burning occurs when a young woman is murdered by her husband or his family for her family's refusal to pay additional dowry. The wife is typically doused with kerosene, gasoline, or other flammable liquid, and set alight, leading to death by fire. Kerosene is often used as the cooking fuel for dangerous small petrol stoves, so it allows the claim that the crime was an accident. It is most common in India and has been a major problem there since at least 1993.

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Bride price Money or other form of wealth paid by a groom or his family to the family of the bride

Bride price, bridewealth, or bride token, is money, property, or other form of wealth paid by a groom or his family to the woman or the family of the woman he will be married to or is just about to marry. Bride price can be compared to dowry, which is paid to the groom, or used by the bride to help establish the new household, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. Some cultures may practice both dowry and bride price simultaneously. Many cultures practiced bride pricing prior to existing records.

Guang Gun is a popular term used to describe single individuals in Chinese culture. Alternatively, this term can be called "leftover men". During the Ming dynasty, the term "bare sticks" was used to describe male individuals who participated in illegal activities ranging from robberies to prostitution. The Ming Code, one of the most important codes written in Chinese history in order to regulate society, "specifically labeled bare sticks: demobilized soldiers, the homeless, and other marginalized people 'not engaged in honest work'". The Chinese media has constructed the myth of protest masculinity that single unmarried men might threaten social harmony due to their inability to get married and further the family lineage.


  1. Stein, Dorothy (1988). "Burning Widows, Burning Brides: The Perils of Daughterhood in India". Pacific Affairs. 61 (3): 465–485. doi:10.2307/2760461. JSTOR   2760461.
  2. Baccara, Mariagiovanna; Collard-Wexler, Allan; Felli, Leonardo; Yariv, Leeat (November 2013). "Child adoption matching: preferences for gender and race" (PDF). LSE Research Online: 1. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  3. Rosin, Hanna (8 June 2010). "The End of Men". theatlantic.com.
  4. Cole, Andrew. "Jewish Apocrypha and Christian Epistemologies of the Fall: The Dialogi of Gregory the Great and the Old Saxon Genesis." Rome and the North: The Early Reception of Gregory the Great in Germanic Europe: 157-188
  5. "30 of the Best Parents in Literature". 2016-01-11. Retrieved 2018-04-29.

5. Britannica. (n.d.). Dowry. Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/dowry.