Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political SciencesPostgraduate study

Ms Saffron Brunskill BSc Population Sciences (University of Southampton) MSc Social Statistics (University of Southampton)

Postgraduate Research Student

Ms Saffron Brunskill's photo

Ms Saffron Brunskill is Postgraduate Research Student within Social Statistics & Demography at the University of Southampton.

I am very familiar with the Department of Social Statistics and Demography at Southampton having read both my undergraduate degree in Population Sciences and my master’s degree in Social Statistics at the University of Southampton, before continuing on to the PhD.

My undergraduate studies introduced me to the issues of gender inequality, imbalanced sex ratios and son preference. My undergraduate thesis explored son preference at the state level in India, determining if son preference was intensifying.

My MSc dissertation recast the Gender Inequality Index (GII) for the states of India to explore disparities in gender inequality across India. This dissertation achieved a high distinction and I was awarded the Social Statistics & Demography MSc Dissertation Prize.


Research interests

Research interests:
My main research interests are in the area of gender inequality, with specific focus on sex ratios and son preference in the Asian context.

Asia is a demographically interesting continent, home to over a third of the world’s population, with many countries experiencing significant development in recent decades. Yet severe gender inequalities still persist, clearly evident through the imbalanced sex ratios which reach almost 120 males born for every 100 girls in China, and in some provinces this figure is much higher.

PhD supervision:
Professor Sabu Padmadas
Dr. Vicky Hosegood

MPhil/PhD research:
Title: Causes and Consequences of High Sex Ratios at Birth in a Context of Persistent Low Fertility

The sex ratio at birth (SRB) has exceeded normal levels in a number of Asian countries, and is considered to be the result of a combination of son preference, fertility decline and access to prenatal diagnostic technologies. High SRBs are evidence of the severe discrimination against women, with many couples opting to abort female foetuses in order to try again for a son. The consequences of high SRBs are also a cause for concern because they generate a large excess of males in the population which pose a significant threat to societal stability.

In a number of these high SRB countries, fertility has been below replacement level for well over a decade, and despite both economic and social development that has greatly improved women’s lives, SRBs have continued to rise. This research aims to examine the variation in SRB in the context of low fertility. Sex ratios are argued by some to be transitional in nature, with the consequences of high SRBs possibly able to trigger a decline in the SRB back to normal levels. Thus it is important to also analyse the effects of high SRB on institutions such as marriage to see if the scarcity of women in the marriage market leads to greater bargaining power and improved gender equality, which may reduce the desire for sons and subsequently normalise the SRB.

Funding: ESRC-DTC (1+3) Scholarship


Ms Saffron Brunskill
Reception Building 58 University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom
Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings