Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Sociological Study Of Women's Perception Towards Dowry - Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 4220 words Published: 12th Apr 2017

Reference this

Dowry has been an integral aspect of traditional arranged Hindu marriage. Over hundreds of years the dowry term has evolved from the ceremonial and voluntary gift giving to the bride’s family in a form of monetary extortion demanded by the groom’s family. Tradition dowry means denoted gifts of kanyatana such as precious itens like expensive cloths give to both the bide and groom’s family during the time of marriage The practice was derived from the high cultural and spiritual merit accorded to gift givers and gift giving in the Vedas and other Hindu literature. Dowry was originally used as a means to both sanctify material wealth and enhance social status in marriage. In modern sense dowry has reflect a change in the system such that the presentation of gifts no longer remains a voluntary process. In Indo pak bride’s families are often compelled to provide dowry in the name of gift giving and evaluated in terms of total cash value.Groom’s family have a high socioeconomic status so they demand the dowry. The modern practice of dowry is characterized by a shift from voluntary to forced gift giving as well as the primary role of the groom’s family in determining the demand for gifts from the bride’s family. It is understood that the term dowry is a broad reference to the totality of assets transferred from the bride’s family to the groom’s at the time of a marriage. The transfers of dowry is characterize by three steps: which is First the property transfer to the bride, Second, there are those gifts that continue to be part of the ceremonial aspect of the marriage and symbolize union between the two families. These would be matched by reciprocal gifts of equal value from the groom’s family. Thirdly there are those assets that can be called “marriage payments” An economically it is this final aspect that constitutes the actual significant economic cost of dowry for a bride’s family, and is perhaps the most costly among the three aspects of the dowry

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is riddled by contrasts in almost every sector. It is characterized by a selective male friendly interpretation of the prominent religion Islam and elitist friendly application of laws. Being a part of the patriarchal belt of South Asia, the culture, family and society is patriarchal. Although recent entry of “elected’ women representatives in the parliament and local bodies are being used as an instrument to make believe that women are empowered in Pakistan, the fact is that empowerment ( social, economic, political and legal) for most of the Pakistani women and disadvantaged communities in Pakistan is yet a distant dream.

However, a number of efforts are underway to promote participation of women in all areas of development. There is also a growing attention by the current government to gender issues including violence that experienced political marginalization in previous democratic as well as military regimes. The visible outcome of such efforts which to date are limited to candid media, generous discourse and ceremonial gestures has yet to come. The country, today, like most other countries round the globe is facing the phenomenon of gender based violence. In the recent years, whenever and wherever, one speaks of gender violence and Pakistan or Pakistani communities outside Pakistan; one cannot recall any other form of violence but Honor Killing or the plight of Mukhtaran Mai. Media, especially western media have created hype on these. The net result of these associations is the convenient forgetfulness, by the Governments, Media, NGOs and other stake holders of the commonest form of gender violence in Pakistani; that is Dowry violence. Dowry violence is a culturally accepted; media generated and legally sanctioned form of violence, yet to be recognized as the most pertinent Pakistani gender issue by development activists in Pakistan. Pakistani Muslims have embraced the dowry system as a tradition and cultural practice due to the Indianization of Islam in the subcontinent. While working with Christian Youth in the slums of Islamabad that there was exposed to the fact that the curse of dowry has plagued this community and class as well and interestingly they owe this influence to their Muslim friends and neighbours.Despite 59 years of independence there is no sign and signal of discarding this system which over the years has graduated from a custom to an institution. Dowry is no longer a set of gift items meant for contributing towards a convenient start of the practical life of a newly married couple. Lavish and loud marriages, designers’ items studded bride, bridegroom and other family members, many course meals etc. all stand for the dowry system .In a country where a vast majority of population lives below poverty line and is devoid of basic human needs like water, sanitation, electricity. Health and education the growing trend of such Exhibiting Marriages is adding to the miseries of the not so privileged and creation of the lesser God. Dowry System causes a number of psychological and emotional traumas and ethical challenges by causing delayed marriages, marriage with inept person/elderly person, threats, taunts and torture of greedy in-laws and husband, and financial crises. In some parts of Pakistan, girls are wed with Quran so that family wealth and property can be safeguarded. It is almost imperative for Pakistani women as sisters to give up their inheritance rights in favor of their brothers. Dowry and expenses on marriage are frequently used explanations for the denial of right of inheritance to women. There are certain tribes and clans in the province of NWFP and Baluchistan where boys have to pay for the bride. If they cannot pay the right Bridal Price they cannot get married. This practice itself qualifies as a separate research entity. On the other hand the Bride who is sold is treated as a property and is entitled to be sold further. An interesting and innovative response to the question of limiting marriage expenses that has come from some welfare oriented Pakistani NGOs and welfare wings of certain Religious groups and public departments in the recent years is the phenomenon of Mass Weddings. There is no doubts in the good faith of the planners and implementers of such weddings It cannot endorse this kind of way out. This solution besides carrying transparency issues (for instance how the eligible couples are selected, what is the actual expense etc.) and compromises on the individual self esteem are in fact endorsing the custom and institution of dowry (Rakhshinda, 2006)

Keeping in mind these points the present study will be conducted to investigate the following objectives.

  • To check the role of dowry in the success or failure of marital adjustment.
  • To study the perception of women towards the dowry practices.
  • To give possible suggestions for the solution of this problem.


Bloch and Rao (2001) Estimated how domestic violence may be used as an instrument to extract larger transfers from a spouse’s family. It is based on a case-study of three villages in Southern India, that combines qualitative and survey data. Based on the ethnographic evidence, they develop a non-cooperative bargaining and signaling model of dowries and domestic violence. The estimation from these models were tested with survey data. This study showed that women who payed smaller dowries suffer an increased risk of marital violence, as do women who come from richer families.

Maristella and Aloysius(2002) Showed that when married daughters leave their parents home and their married brothers do not, altruistic parents provide dowries for daughters and gifts for sons in order to meet a free riding problem between their married sons and daughters. The study has estimation on the form of the dowry contract, the exclusion of daughters from bequests, and the decline of dowries in previously dowry giving societies. These estimation are consistent with historical evidence from ancient Near Eastern civilizations, ancient Greece, Roman and Byzantine empires, western Europe from 500 to 1500 AD, the 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 contemporary India

Terilt (2002) argued that marriages in traditional societies often include a transfer between the involved parties. In some societies, a transfer is made from the groom to the family of bride (a brideprice), while in others it goes from the bride to the groom (dowry). Researcher investigated whether differences in the type of marriages that are allowed can account for these observations The model has several other interesting implications that are in line with what is san in the data. Pologyny leads to a larger difference in age between husbands and wives, a younger marriage age for women, and higher fertility.

Siwan (2003) concluded that in contrast to most dowry-oriented societies in which payments have declined with modernization, those in India have undergone significant inflation over the last five decades. He explained the difference between these two experiences by focusing on the role played by caste. The theoretical model contrasts caste- and non-caste-based societies: in the former, there exists an inherited component to status (caste) that is independent of wealth, and in the latter, wealth is the primary determinant of caste. Modernization is assumed to involve two components: increasing average wealth and increasing wealth dispersion within caste groups. He further showed that, in caste based societies, the increases in wealth dispersion that accompany modernization necessarily lead to increases in dowry payments, whereas in non-caste-based societies, increased dispersion has no real effect on dowry payments and increasing average wealth causes the payments to decline.

Luciana et al (2004) estimated that in recent years, dowry levels have risen to previously unforeseen levels. Among Hindus in north India dowry can amount to three or four times a family’s total assets. Among Muslims in Bangladesh and Hindus in south India, dowry has become commonplace whereas the practice did not exist a generation ago. The institution of dowry has been widely criticized, socially maligned, and legally banned. Some recent economic writings suggest that dowry functions as a bequest or pre-mortem inheritance, implying it persists because it is “good for the bride.” Using panel data from an adolescent study in rural Bangladesh, he explored the association between dowry and the prevalence of domestic abuse to test the bequest theory of dowry. They found that, contrary to the prediction of the bequest theory, married females who paid dowry at marriage have a higher likelihood of reporting domestic violence compared to those who did not. In addition, the relation between dowry and abuse is highly level-specific: respondents who paid small dowries report much higher levels of abuse than those who paid large dowries. In fact, paying no dowry is just as protective, if not more so, in terms of preventing abuse as the largest dowry payments.

Anderson (2004) concluded that laws restricting dowries have existed in most societies where these transfers have occurred. Central to the policy debates is the actual role of the dowry payment. It is typically believed that intervention is required when dowries serve as a ‘price’ for marriage (“groom price”), but not when dowries are means of endowing daughters with some financial security (“pre-mortem inheritance”). He developed a simple matching model of marriage which integrates the two different roles for dowry. It is demonstrated that when modernization occurs, dowry payments can evolve from a pre-mortem inheritance into a groom price. The model generated implications which empirically distinguish the two different motives. The predictions are tested using recent data from Pakistan, where dowry legislation is currently an active policy issue. This investigation concludes that, in urban areas the payment is serving as a groom price, instead of the traditional pre-mortem inheritance to women. However, his study showed that this is not such a large concern in rural areas.

Geirbo and Imam (2006) concluded that much of what is written about dowry focuses on the harmful aspects. He argued that in order to target dowry as a social problem, we need to know more about why people continue the practice. It gives an overview of the transactions connected to wedding and divorce before it explores the motivations people have for giving and taking dowry. In the end, it is discussed how this rationality meets the rationality of the government and NGOs in the local interpretation and use of legislation and in the use of microcredit. Security is found to be the main motivation for giving dowry. A paid dowry gives a hope that the daughter will be treated well in her in-law’s house. Because dowry is connected to Mohr, it also gives a security in case of divorce. However, a paid dowry does not give women entitlements towards her in-laws, only a hope that they will treat her well. Also, women’s entitlement to Mohr depends on payment of dowry as well as her performance as a wife. Men, on the other hand, are perceived as having unquestioned entitlement to dowry. This imbalance is seen as being connected to a perception of women as being vulnerable to physical and social risk as well as representing a threat to their family and community. In conclusion it is recommended that instead of targeting dowry directly, advocacy efforts would gain from targeting the causes behind the motivations for giving and taking dowry. Reducing the risk factors that make married status and dowry crucial for women is a way to combat the practice. One way to do this is by implementing livelihood programmers for adolescent girls. Apart from this, the prevailing gender ideology has to be challenged systematically among both girls and boys from an early age. The monograph is based on qualitative research in Domar under Nilphamari district in Bangladesh.

Babur (2007) concluded that dowry system is another form of social and traditional practice whose consequences result direct violence of women. There is hardly any family in Pakistan un which this dowry system is not followed. Not a signal day passes without dowry death and torture women. News papers are full of stories torture of women who bring in sufficient dowry. Unable to bear the torched, some brides are forced to commit suicide and some are burnt alive under the cover of stove deaths, which is also called bride burning in which women are burn alive after being covered with kerosene oil.

Afzal (2007) estimated an equation explaining the determinates of dowry they address a very common socio economic problem for subcontinent, the problem of dowry from a social planer’s respective, whom wants to reduce overall dowry transfer, they consider the effect of change in a few relevant parameters like husband height, wife height wet land dry land, year of marriage and years of education, for woman and men on these decision. According to the various studies the dowry phenomenon is exist heavily in rural subcontinent, at the same time research related to the system is very rare. The aim of his study to estimate an equation explaining the determinant of dowry. Several interpretation of dowry is distinguished using a simple theoretical frame work and the prediction of this model are tested. Using the data provide them for this project is tested and reliable so that they will be able to draw their won testable relationships and determinant of dowry. His study suggested even though there are religious and cultural differences, the system of dowry in Pakistan appears to be for the same reason as in India. A theoretical frame work was developed that was inclusive of the required variable by testing through the multiple regression analyses and the experimental findings shows the independent variable use to test have an impact on dowry by applying multiple regression step wise method.

Arunachalamy and Loganz (2008) concluded that dowries have been modeled as pre-mortem bequests to daughters or as groom-prices paid to in-laws. These two classes of models yield mutually exclusive predictions, but empirical tests of these predictions have been mixed. We draw from historical evidence that suggests a bifurcated marriage market, in which some households use dowries as a bequest and others use dowries as a price. The competing theories of dowry allow us to structure an exogenous switching regression that places households in the price or bequest regime. The empirical strategy allows for multiple checks on the validity of regime assignment. Using retrospective marriage data from rural Bangladesh, we evidence of het- erogeneity in dowry motives; that bequest dowries have declined in prevalence and amount over time; and that bequest households are better o_ compared to price households on a variety of welfare measures.

Attila et al (2008) suggested that existing theoretical and empirical research on dowries has difficulty accounting for the large changes in dowry levels observed in many countries over the past few decades. To explain trends in dowry levels in Bangladesh, they draw attention to an institutional feature of marriage contracts previously ignored in the literature: the mehr or traditional Islamic bride price, which functions as a prenuptial agreement in Bangladesh due to the default practice of being only payable upon divorce. We develop a model of marriage contracts in which mehr serves as a barrier to husbands exiting marriage and a component of dowry is an amount that extant compensates the groom for the cost of mehr. The contracts are welfare-improving because they induce husbands to internalize the social costs of divorce for women. We investigate how mehr and dowry respond to exogenous changes in the costs of polygamy and divorce, and show that our model gives a different set of predictions than traditional models of dowry payments without contractible mehr. To test the model’s predictions empirically, we use data collected on marriage contracts between 1956 and 2004 from a large household survey from the Northwest region of the country, and make use of key changes in Muslim Family Law in 1961 and 1974. They showed that major changes in dowry levels took place precisely after the legal changes, corresponding to simultaneous changes in levels of mehr.

Sarwat and Imtiaz (2009) concluded that the focus of this study is to estimate an equation explaining the determinants of dowry. In this paper, they address a very common socio-economic problem for sub-continent, the problem of dowry. From a social planner’s perspective, who wants to reduce overall dowry transfers, they consider the effect of change in a few relevant parameters like husband height, wife height, wet land, dry land, years of marriage and years of education for women & men on these decisions. According to the various studies the dowry phenomenon is exist heavily in rural sub-continent, at the same time research related to this system is very rare. The aim of this study is to estimate an equation explaining the determinants of dowry. Several interpretations for dowry are distinguished using a simple theoretical framework and the predictions of this model are tested. Using the data provided us for this project is tested and reliable so that we will be able to draw our own testable relationships and determinants of dowry. The data will be use in the following sections for further analysis by estimating the determinants of dowry using multiple regression analysis. The study suggests that even though there are religious and cultural differences, the system of dowry in Pakistan appears to be for the same reasons as in India. A theoretical framework was developed that was inclusive of all the required variables by testing through the multiple regression analysis and the experimental findings shows the independent variable used to test have an impact on dowry by applying multiple regression step-wise method.

Laura et al (2009) concluded that significant amounts of wealth have been exchanged as part of marriage settlements throughout history. Although various models have been proposed for interpreting these practices, their development over time has not been investigated systematically. In this study they use a Bayesian MCMC phylogenetic comparative approach to reconstruct the evolution of two forms of wealth transfers at marriage, dowry and bride wealth, for 51 Indo-European cultural groups. Results indicate that dowry is more likely to have been the ancestral practice, and that a minimum of four changes to bride wealth is necessary to explain the observed distribution of the two states across the cultural groups.

Review of literature explained that a large number of women faced many dowry problems including that psychological, social and economical factors common in our society. This is more serious issue in our Pakistan. I am going to explore a sociological study women perception towards dowry in urban areas of Tehsil D.G.Khan.


The main objective of methodology is to explain various tools and techniques apply for a data collection, data analysis and interpretation of data related to research problem. According to Nachmias and Nachmias (1992) “the scientific methodology is a system of explicit rules and procedures upon which research is based and against which the claims for knowledge are evaluate”. The aim of present study will be to explore the causes of dowry such as social, economical, political , legal and their impact of dowry at marriage in our society.

The universe of study will be Tehsil D.G.Khan (District Dera Ghazi Khan). A sample of one hundred and fifty females will be selected from five urban councils through simple random sampling technique. Respondents will be interviewed by using a well structured questionnaire. Ten respondents will be pre-tested to check and examine the workability of questionnaire. Data will be analyzed through appropriate statistical technique by using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS), Univariate and bivariate analysis will be carried out and obtained information will be present in form of M.Sc thesis.


Attila. A, Erica. F, Maximo. T.2008. Muslim family law, prenuptial agreements and the

emergence of dowry in Bangladesh,Harvard University.

Arunachalamy.R, Loganz. T.2008.On the Heterogeneity of Dowry Motives. Department of

Economics, The Ohio State University, and National Bureau of Economic Research.

Anderson.S.2004. Should dowries be banned? Department of Economics, University of British


Bloch .F, Rao.V.2001. Terror as a Bargaining Instrument: A Case-Study of Dowry Violence in

Rural India.1-25

Geirbo. H, Imam. N.2006. The Motivations Behind Giving and Taking Dowry. BRAC,Research and evaluation division Dhaka. Bangladesh. Page 1-36

Luciana. S, Sajada. A, Lopita. H, Kobita. C.2004. Does Dowry Improve Life for Brides?

A Test of the Bequest Theory of Dowry in Rural Bangladesh. Population council No.195.

Laura.F, Clare. H, Ruth .M.2009. From bridewealth to dowry? A bayesian estimation of

ancestral states of marriage transfers in indoeuropean groups. Department of anthropology, university college london.1-34

Maristella. B, Aloysius. S. 2002. Why Dowries? Department of Economics, University of

Toronto. Contributed papers 0200,Economic society.Page 1-47

Maristella. B, Aloysius .S.2002. Marriage Markets and Intergenerational Transfers in

Comparative Perspective (Why Dowries?)

Nachmias, C.F. and D. Nachmias. 1992. “Research methods in the social sciences”.

Published by Edwards Arnold. A division of Hodder and Stoughton.London

Rakhshinda, P.2006. Dowry: The most frequently forgotten form of gender violence in Pakistan.

Gender based Violence.

Sarwat ,A, Imtiaz, S; 2009. To estimate an equation explaining the determinants of dowry. Pakistan development review, vol.xii,No.1,48-61.

Siwan. A.2003. Why Dowry Payments Declined with Modernization in Europe but Are Rising in

India. [Journal of Political Economy, 2003, vol. 111, no. 2]. The University of Chicago.

Tonushree, J. 2001. The Economics of Dowry: Causes and Effects of an Indian Tradition, copyright 2001 UAUJE. Htt://www.eco.ilstu/UAUJE.Research monograph series No.28.

Nachmias, C.F. and D. Nachmias. 1992. “Research methods in the social sciences”.

Published by Edwards Arnold. A division of Hodder and Stoughton.London


Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: