They’re right, but that is not the whole story. Consider Kosovo and its neighbors Serbia and Bosnia, which all share these characteristics. Sex ratios are abnormal in the first and normal in the other two. So, what is behind the difference?
Our own recent research has led us to examine how patrilineality —organizing societies through the father’s lineage — intersects with the quest for individual security in these nations. In a sense, there are but two answers to this question of how to stay safe in a dangerous world: a central government upheld by rule of law — or the strength and arms of one’s kinsmen. While some societies have long enjoyed meaningful rule of law backed by state enforcement, others have endured weak governments veneered over a much sturdier foundation of kinship-provided security. As governments become increasingly incapable of providing security, clans step in to fill the void.
Clan governance is almost always patrilineal in nature. This is because the primacy of the patriline ensures that the group’s men are bound by blood ties, making trust possible in situations where life and death are at stake. Brothers and male cousins are far more reliable than government functionaries in a pinch.
This turn, however, has deeply gendered consequences. In these clan-based societies, women’s interests must be subordinated in order for patrilineality to maintain its hold over society. Our research, published in the August issue of the American Political Science Review, has shown a “syndrome” of such subordination in clan-governed societies, where women have few or no property rights, rights to divorce, rights to child custody, rights to choose a marriage partner, rights to live apart from her husband’s family, or rights to live free from domestic violence. In these societies, son preference is not just present; it is overwhelming in nature, coloring every aspect of the society."
Read article by Valerie Hudson and Andrea Den Boer from Foreign Policy.