Sample Anthropology Essay on Dowry Traditions

Dowry Traditions

In almost every part of the world, women do not enjoy basic human rights. They are often tortured, raped, or even killed by men. This is because the longstanding customs allow men to dominate over women. Violence against women is rife in India, and this is particularly demonstrated through dowry practices. Traditionally, dowry was perceived as gift from the bride’s family, but as time changed, the practice has been turned into income-generating activity. The growing bride price has led to more violence against women, as women continued to be harassed by their husbands to pay higher amount of dowry.

Dowry is an indispensable part in Indian marriages. Although the country has prohibited the practice, Indians have persisted upholding the practice. Dowry has become a burden to many families that many girls have contemplated on suicides to evade harassments. Dowry deaths have become a common occurrence where a wife is harassed, beaten, or killed by her husband’s relatives due to failure to pay higher amount of dowry. Many girls have gone missing while others have been found dead either through suicide, or through murder. The report by the media shows that the number of girls that are dying due to dowry practices is going up at an alarming rate despite the country having laws to prohibit dowry practices.

Dowry practice has made boys to become precious commodities in families that practice this tradition. Girls have grown up knowing that they are a burden to their families while boys will carry on their families name and attract wealth from their brides’ families. Women are only valued before they get married. Traditional Indian systems do not allow daughters to inherit their parents’ wealth, since dowry was part of their parents’ wealth. Nowadays, sex selection begins from pregnancy. Women are turning to technology to know the gender of their unborn children. They are coerced to carry out an abortion if they discover that the fetus is a girl.

The wife is usually taken as a servant in the family setup, and if she is employed, she complements the husband in providing for the family. She takes care of the children, but has no power over her husband. Although she is the one who brought wealth in form of dowry, she is perceived as a commodity. She has no influence over her husband’s wealth. She is the one who bears children, but she has no right to over the child’s life. Due to skewed sex ratio, women and girls have been turned into slaves for trafficking. Marriage is viewed as a coalition between two families instead of a union of two individuals who love each other.

Traditions of dowry practices have hindered educational opportunity for young girls. Parents are saving money to secure good husbands for their daughters rather than educating them. Girls are denied education rights because expenses in education do not amount to higher returns. In Indian society, nobody care about how educated a bride is. Thus, parents do not find the necessity to educate their daughter. Another reason that has hindered girls’ education is that even if they acquire the highest qualifications, most grooms do not allow their wives to be employed. Early marriages are also favored in some regions, as some families prefer younger brides. The biological family does not want to give support to the girl once she attains the age of eighteen.