Whether you’re the “golden child” or the “problem child”, anyone with siblings will be familiar with the rivalry and competition that comes with growing up together – and it doesn’t necessarily end when you form relationships and families of your own.

For many young women in China with brothers, this is made even harder by the cultural preference for sons and the remnants of the country’s one-child policy. As researcher Chihling Liu found in thousands of posts on Chinese social media, daughters are discriminated against in their own families, and yet are expected to financially support their parents and brothers. These expectations, which leave women socially isolated, under financial pressure and even suicidal, should be of great concern in a country with a declining birth rate and huge gender imbalance.

Also today, read our coverage from Johannesburg of a fire that killed dozens in the city last week, and while it might seem like a hassle to get regular COVID boosters, here’s why older adults should make those appointments.

Avery Anapol

Commissioning Editor, London


‘I almost lost my will to live’: preference for sons is leaving young women in China exploited and abused

Chih-Ling Liu, Lancaster University

Many young women feel trapped and indebted to their families.

South African police officers at the scene of the burned building in Johannesburg. Luca Sola/AFP via Getty Images

Johannesburg fire disaster: why eradicating hijacked buildings is not the answer

Richard Ballard, University of the Witwatersrand

Inner city occupations and shack settlements alike are the inevitable consequence of the fact that huge populations of people have to get by without a living wage.

After winning a third term, Ali Bongo has been ousted as president of Gabon by a military coup. EPA-EFE/stringer

Coup in Gabon: Ali Bongo the eighth west African leader to be ousted by military in two years

Folahanmi Aina, Royal United Services Institute

Ali Bongo is the latest in a string of leaders to be ousted in military coups since 2020.