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“In Indian society, there is a drive to have a boy.” Vinod doesn’t share the same perspective, but his mother remains adamant, and her opinion carries weight.His wages are barely enough for the family to live on.Narrow alleys separate multi-story buildings that crowd out the sunlight.

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Meet families in two cities navigating this balance.

t the edge of a busy main road in Agra, Solenka Kumar’s pushcart vies for the attention of passing pedestrians.

Across centuries and around the world, migration in response to immediate need changes families for generations.

Over the last century, urban migration has shaped India’s present and future.

It’s just after 2 p.m., and the girls, Kashish, 5, and Ani, 4, have finished their class at the anganwadi.

Too young to be in school, their options for the afternoon are to play near their mother’s cart as traffic whizzes by or play at home, where there’s no supervision. Solenka and her husband, Vinod Kumar, 33, live in Agra’s Nagla Mohan neighborhood with their four young daughters.“Society thinks girls are a burden.” For poor families, the looming reality of a dowry when a daughter is born can be especially daunting, but parents of all socioeconomic backgrounds spend years saving up for the jewelry, cash, household items, and even motorbikes they’re expected to give to their son-in-law’s family before a marriage takes place.It’s one on a list of social and economic reasons why many families across India prefer sons over daughters, who are sometimes seen as burdens who don’t contribute financially to the household.She sells a rainbow of colorful bangles, and business is good as women purchase new accessories ahead of the Diwali festival.Cars, rickshaws, cows, tuk-tuks, and bicycles all jockey for position on the crowded street while Solenka’s small daughters dart around their mother’s pushcart, dangerously close to the traffic.It’s play time for Kashish after her father leaves for work and her eldest sister goes to school.


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