Lent 34: Marriage, brides at risk

True Grit: Women Taking On the World, for God's Sake

The dowry system has been legally banned in India for over 40 years. Nevertheless, the offering and receiving of a marriage settlement is still an expected practice in many parts of the subcontinent. Since it falls upon the bride’s family to come up with large amounts of money or valuables (averaging today the equivalent of five times the family’s annual income), it is unsurprising when a female birth is hailed with dread. In fact, the dowry system is a direct cause for the escalating rates of infanticide. Some girls, knowing their fathers are unable to pay a bride price, have been known to commit suicide.
Sparks may fly after a marriage if the groom’s family decides they want more than the previously agreed-upon dowry. They may try extortion, and if her family cannot meet their demands, the bride is in danger of abuse, divorce and even death.

Wondering what this is all about? Read my post explaining why and how I’m commemorating Lent this year.

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