Sociological Study Of Women Perception Towards Dowry Sociology Essay Example
Sociological Study Of Women Perception Towards Dowry Sociology Essay Example

Sociological Study Of Women Perception Towards Dowry Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 9 (2459 words)
  • Published: August 2, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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Dowry has played a significant role in traditional arranged marriages within Hindu culture. Initially, it was a voluntary offering given to the bride's family during the ceremony and included valuable items like expensive fabrics. The practice of dowry originated from cultural and religious beliefs that emphasized gift-giving as mentioned in Vedas and other Hindu literature. Its aim was to enhance social status and sanctify material wealth in marriage. However, over time, it turned into an exorbitant demand for money by the groom's family. In Indo-Pak culture, gifts are no longer voluntary; brides' families are often pressured to provide dowries to increase its total cash value expected by grooms' families with higher economic statuses. Modern-day dowry is characterized by coerced gift-giving and greater participation from the groom's family in determining its appropriate amount.

Dowry refers to assets transferred from the bride's family to the groom


's at marriage time, involving three steps: transportation of bride belongings; exchange of mutual gifts representing brotherhood between two families; and marriage payment - considered as significant economic cost for the bride's family.

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan exhibits contrasts in various areas, with a male-centric interpretation of Islam and an elitist-friendly implementation of laws. As part of the patriarchal belt in South Asia, Pakistani society, culture, and family exhibit patriarchy.Empowerment remains a distant goal for most deprived communities and women in Pakistan, despite efforts to enhance their engagement in development. The government has recently placed increased emphasis on gender issues such as violence against marginalized groups, although these initiatives have thus far been limited to public discussions, media coverage, and symbolic gestures. Pakistan is currently facing gender-based violence which is a global phenomenon.

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However, traditional conversations about gender violence in Pakistan tend to focus mainly on honor killings or Mukhtaran Mai's plight while ignoring the more prevalent form of dowry-related brutality experienced by Pakistani women. Culturally acceptable, this type of violence stems from Indianized Islam practices supported by legal authorization and media exposure. Unfortunately, despite being a crucial matter for development activists in Pakistan, the dowry system has yet to receive recognition from government officials or advocacy groups. While working with Christian Youth in Islamabad's slums it was noted that this issue not only affects this community but also other communities as well.It is noteworthy that the influence to combat the dowry system in Pakistan has come from Muslims who are friends and neighbors. Despite being an independent nation for 59 years, the custom of giving dowries persists as an institution. Originally intended to provide gifts to newlyweds, this practice has now expanded to include extravagant weddings with designer items for the bride, groom and their families along with lavish meals and more. These ostentatious marriages add further suffering to those already living below poverty levels without basic necessities like water, sanitation, electricity, health and education. The dowry system causes emotional and psychological harm by delaying marriages forcing marriage to strangers or elderly partners threats insults greediness from in-laws and husbands, and financial crises. In some parts of Pakistan girls are even married off with the Quran just for safeguarding family wealth while women are denied their inheritance due to dowry expenses. This perpetuates gender inequality issues within society where adult females must sacrifice their heritage rights in favor of their brothers. Additionally, certain regions of NWFP and

Baluchistan obligate grooms to pay for brides' hands in marriage; failure results in inability to marry leaving brides treated as property that can be sold again.NGOs, religious groups, and public sectors in Pakistan have introduced Mass Weddings as a solution to address the high cost of weddings. However, transparency issues exist. This study focuses on investigating the impact of dowries on matrimonial success or failure and individual self-esteem from the perspective of women. Bloch and Rao (2001) found that women who paid smaller dowries from wealthier families were at higher risk of marital violence due to non-cooperative bargaining models based on ethnographic evidence tested via survey data. Maristella and Aloysius (2002) found that parents provide dowries for daughters but gifts for sons to maintain gender equality in marriages. Meanwhile, Terilt's (2002) research identified various problems caused by dowry contracts, exclusion of girls from legacies, and the declining trend of dowries in societies where it was previously prevalent.Throughout history, various societies have engaged in transfers between parties as part of their traditional marriage practices. This includes ancient Near Eastern civilizations, ancient Greece, Roman and Byzantine empires, western Europe from 500 to 1500 AD, Jews from antiquity to the Middle Ages, Arab Islam from 650 AD to modern times, China, Japan, medieval and Renaissance Tuscany, early-modern England, modern Brazil, North America and modern-day India. Terilt explains that these transfers occur either between the groom's family and bride (brideprice) or from bride to groom (dowry). Some studies explore whether differences in allowed types of marriages account for these patterns. Polygyny can result in a larger age gap between spouses along with younger marriage age for women and higher

fertility rates. Siwan (2003) has observed that while most dowry-oriented societies experienced declining payments with modernization; however India has witnessed significant inflation over the past five decades due to caste-based society having a familial element separate from wealth compared to non-caste-based societies where caste is primarily based on wealth. Modernization affects two factors: mean wealth and distribution of wealth within castes.In societies that are divided into castes, the process of modernization causes a rise in dowry payments because wealth is distributed more equally. However, this does not affect dowry payments in societies that aren't caste-based. Currently, Hindus residing in northern India face unprecedented levels of dowry payment; it can sometimes amount to three or four times their entire assets. Dowry payment has also become common among Muslims living in Bangladesh and Hindus who reside in southern India, even though it was absent from previous generations.

Recent economic studies suggest that despite being socially shunned and legally prohibited, the practice of giving dowries persists as a legacy or inheritance left before death because it is deemed to be "good for the bride." In order to investigate this theory further, a study used panel data obtained from an adolescent survey conducted in rural Bangladesh to identify the link between domestic violence and dowries paid by married females. The research revealed that women who paid dowries at marriage were more likely to report experiencing domestic violence compared to those who did not pay any money towards their marriage.

This finding contradicts what was expected under bequest theory. Furthermore, respondents who paid smaller amounts of money as part of their dowry reported higher levels of abuse than those who gave larger

sums. It was discovered that paying no dowry offered just as much protection against abuse as making large payments.

Anderson (2004) concluded that laws prohibiting the practice of giving or receiving dowries exist where these transfers have taken place and emphasizes how understanding the actual role played by such transactions is central when discussing policy debates on this topic.The article discusses the necessity of intervention when dowries are used as a "groom price" for marriage versus when they serve as a form of financial security, or "pre-mortem inheritance," for girls. To address both functions, a matching model was developed for marriage. The evolution of dowry payments from pre-mortem inheritance to groom price during modernization has been studied empirically and has distinct implications for each motivation. Recent data from Pakistan is being used to test expectations regarding dowry legislation, which reveals that in urban areas, dowry payments function as a monetary value for grooms rather than an inheritance for women. This issue is less significant in rural areas. Geirbo and Imam (2006) suggest understanding why the practice continues is crucial for addressing discussions around its negative aspects. Ultimately, the primary motivation behind giving dowry is security, providing hope that brides will be treated well in their new homes and offering financial security in case of divorce; however, it does not guarantee fair treatment from in-laws but only provides hope for it.The text examines how motivations for dowry align with those of government and NGOs regarding local law implementation and microcredit usage. Mohr entitlement is based on a woman's performance as a wife and payment of dowry, while men are often seen as entitled to dowry due to

the belief that women pose risks to their family and community. Rather than targeting dowry directly, efforts should focus on reducing risk factors that make marriage and dowry necessary for women by providing support programs for adolescent girls and challenging gender ideologies among both girls and boys from an early age. Qualitative research in Bangladesh demonstrates that the dowry system violates women's rights, leading to abuse and violence. Unfortunately, the dowry system remains prevalent in most households in Pakistan, resulting in daily cases of violence against women such as self-harm or bridal combustion. To address this socio-economic problem, Afzal (2007) sought solutions for the issue of dowries in the subcontinent using a theoretical framework that takes into consideration variables such as husband and wife height, wet and dry land, years of marriage, and years of education for both genders to reduce overall dowry transfers.Research on the dowry system in rural areas of the subcontinent, where it is prevalent, is scarce. Reliable data was used to draw testable relationships and understand the determinants of dowry. Survey results revealed that the system of dowry in Pakistan is similar to India's, despite cultural and spiritual differences. Through multiple regression analyses and experimental findings, a theoretical framework was created with necessary variables. Arunachalamy and Loganz (2008) concluded that dowries can be modeled as pre-mortem legacies or groom-prices paid to in-laws, providing different theories for families to exchange money or legacy government according to their preferences. Retrospective marriage data from rural Bangladesh uncovered evidence of heterogeneity in dowry motivations along with a decline over time in prevalence and amount of bequest doweries. According to Attila et al.'s (2008) study, bequest

families have better welfare measures than monetary value families. The existing research struggles to explain significant changes observed in dowry levels across different countries recently; researchers highlight an overlooked institutional aspect of marriage contracts - mehr or traditional Islamic bride price - as a key factor explaining trends in Bangladesh's dowry levels since mehr serves as a premarital agreement only collectible upon divorce.The researchers propose a model of marriage contracts that addresses the issue of husbands leaving marriages. The model suggests using mehr as a barrier to prevent this and part of the dowry compensating for the cost of mehr. By doing so, it incentivizes husbands to consider societal costs associated with divorce for women more carefully than traditional accounts without contractible mehr. To test their predictions empirically, data on marriage contracts between 1956 and 2004 were collected from a large family survey conducted in the Northwest region of Bangladesh. Sarwat and Imtiaz (2009) utilized changes in Muslim Family Law in 1961 and 1974 to create an equation explaining factors determining dowry, which is a common socioeconomic issue in the subcontinent. Their study revealed significant changes in dowry levels after legal modifications, coinciding with adjustments in mehr levels. Researchers considered various relevant parameters such as husband and wife height, wet and dry land, years of marriage and education for women and men from a social planner's perspective to reduce overall dowry transfers. Despite its rarity, research related to this system is crucial due to its prevalence in rural subcontinent areas.A study utilized a theoretical model to test dowry interpretations and establish testable relationships for determinants of dowries. The data obtained will be further analyzed through

multiple regression analysis to assess contributing factors towards dowries. Despite cultural or religious differences, Pakistan practices similar forms of dowries as India, which were included in the constructed theoretical model using multiple regression analysis. The results show that the independent variables have a significant impact on dowry when using a step-wise method in multiple regression analysis. Another study by Laura et al (2009) used a Bayesian MCMC phylogenetic comparative approach to investigate the evolution of dowry among 51 Indo-European cultural groups and found that it was likely hereditary and required at least four alterations to fully explain its distribution across groups. A literature review highlighted several issues related to dowries for women, including psychological, social, and economic factors, particularly in Pakistan.This study aims to investigate women's perceptions of dowries in urban areas of Tehsil D.G.Khan through sociological research. The methodology used will follow explicit rules and procedures defined as scientific methodology by Nachmias and Nachmias (1992) to collect, analyze, and interpret data related to the research problem. Factors contributing to dowries such as societal, economic, political, and legal factors will be explored along with their impact on marriage in society. A sample size of 150 females from five urban councils in District Dera Ghazi Khan will be selected using simple random sampling techniques for structured interviews using a well-designed questionnaire pre-tested on ten subjects for functionality. Appropriate statistical techniques like univariate and bivariate analysis via SPSS software will be employed for data analysis with findings presented in an M.Sc thesis format citing literature sources including Attila.A, Erica.F., Maximo.T.(2008), Arunachalamy.R., Loganz.T.(2008), and Anderson.S.(2004). Articles such as "Terror as a Bargaining Instrument: A Case-Study of Dowry Violence

in Rural India" by Bloch and Rao (2001), "The Motivations Behind Giving and Taking Dowry" by Geirbo and Imam (2006), "Does Dowry Improve Life for Brides?"Several studies have explored dowries in different regions including "A Trial of the Bequest Theory of Dowry in Rural Bangladesh" by Luciana, Sajada, Lopita, and Kobita (2004), and "From Bridewealth to Dowry? A Bayesian Appraisal of Hereditary Provinces of Matrimony Transportations in Indoeuropean Groups" by Laura, Clare, and Ruth (2009). Maristella B. and Aloysius S. (2002) also examined marriage markets and intergenerational transfers related to dowries. Tonushree (2001) conducted further research on the economics, causes, effects of declining payments with modernization in Europe versus rising trends in India while Siwan (2003) studied rising trends specifically in India. Research methods for social science disciplines were provided by Nachmias and Nachmias's (1992) study. Rakhshinda (2006) found that dowries are often forgotten as a form of gender violence in Pakistan. The supervisory committee for Asia Rafique consisted of Mr. Muhammad Ali Tarar as the chairman, and Miss Sumaira Bano and Mr. Muhammad Ali as members while Prof.Dr.Shafqat Nawaz and Dr.___ from the College of Agriculture in Dera Ghazi Khan made up the security committee where the Social Sciences and Rural Development department is located.The names Muhammad Mudassar Maqbool, Mr.Muhammad Shahid Nisar,and Dr.Fida Hussain are all mentioned under "h2" headings with another "h2" referring to the College of Agriculture in Dera Ghazi Khan as the principal institution involved in this matter.

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