Historical Context : Women 's Rights

2000 Words8 Pages
Historical Context: Women in India have few choices, especially when it comes to marriage. In fact, most marriages are pre-arranged from a young age. In addition, India has a long lasting cultural practice where women, and even young girls are traded for a form of dowry (“Rastogi”, 2006). The dowry would serve as compensation to the bride’s father for the loose of control and labour of his daughter after marriage (“Rastogi”, 2006). Essentially, the female is treated as property. This ritual considered to a grooms entitlement, and has been largely linked to the oppression, abuse, and violence against females (“Rastogi”, 2006). Yet it is not uncommon for the groom’s family to be unsatisfied with the dowry, especially at times if it is not fully upheld by the bride’s family. This is a large contributor the cruelty and sexual violence targeted to females in Indian society, and has also been linked dowry-deaths, where either her husband or his family commits the murder of a bride. Past Indian governments have accepted the damaging effects of dowries towards women and made it illegal through the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, yet the policy broadly defined the punishable aspect of the practice making it difficult to enforce (Shenk, 2007). As a result of the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 failing in implementation, the Indian Government passed two amendments in the 1980’s. The changes increased the severity of punishment, and made the demand of a dowry illegal that
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