Dowry, an Investment System

Topics: Marriage, Dowry, Bride price Pages: 4 (1154 words) Published: March 24, 2013
Dowry system is when the bride’s family gives goods, money, or estate to her husband and his family during marriage (E. Pauls Prine (Ed.), 2008). This practice is mostly common in South Asia, specifically the Indian culture (E. Pauls Prine (Ed.), 2008). On the other hand is the practice of bride price system which is where the husband gives cattle, land or goods in exchange for a woman’s hand in marriage (Schwimmer, 2002). This is mostly practiced in Africa among traditional households, where it is a price for the economic services and children a woman adds to another family (Schwimmer, 2002). Dowry and bride price are mostly practiced in exchange for the bride’s well being (E. Pauls Prine (Ed.), 2008). There is a strong possibility that a wife might be mistreated if the dowry was not enough or satisfying for the groom’s family (E. Pauls Prine (Ed.), 2008). Most times if the husband leaves or mistreats his wife the dowry is to be returned to her (E. Pauls Prine (Ed.), 2008). It is also used as a means to discharge a husband of his duties to provide well for his wife, this is most common in marriages where two young people are wedded (E. Pauls Prine (Ed.), 2008). Although the practice of dowry from the bride’s family to the groom’s is a norm in the Indian culture it the opposite for the African culture. Where as in Africa a groom’s family gives bride price to the bride’s family. These practices seen in the context of their culture are completely normal, but seen from a modern perspective are primitive and inhumane since they resemble a system of slave exchange (Schwimmer, 2002).

This is due to the over turn in the practice in the twentieth century. In South Asian culture dowries have been demanded and paid to the groom’s family conjugating the term “groom price” (Maitra, 2007). In India it is evident that there is a great inflation in dowry practice (Maitra, 2007). There was also an evident increase in violence against brides who were unable to fulfill the...
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