Thursday, October 30, 2008

Paying to get married when you are already broke

Bangladesh has a practice of a marriage dowry. In order to have their daughter get married, a family will pay money to the family with the prospective husband. The dowry is illegal in Bangladesh, but is still widely practiced.

A new study was conducted to determine the causing factors of poverty in Bangladesh. A release on the study was found on the website Science Daily.

The research found that those households with lower levels of education, that owned less land, had fewer assets and had many young children and elderly relatives, faced the most difficulty in escaping poverty.

The custom of paying a dowry to the future husband’s family when a daughter is married is illegal in Bangladesh, but is still practised by most families living in rural areas. Payment is normally upwards from 20,000 Taka (around £190 or $313 U.S.) and since typical earnings are only 100 Taka (94 pence) per day, this can be a major contributor to poverty for many families with daughters.

Dr Davis found that medical expenses involved in the care of elderly relatives were also a common issue for families living in poverty.

“Some families face a ‘double whammy’, having to pay wedding expenses and dowry for their daughters at the same time in life when elderly relatives are needing more expensive medical care,” said Dr Davis, who spent several months in the country training and working with researchers from DATA Bangladesh to conduct interviews with families for the study.

“Measures such as improving education, employment and health services could play a really significant role in alleviating poverty in these families.

“The government in Bangladesh has already taken positive steps in increasing the enrollment of girls in schools, which should decrease the practice of giving and demanding dowry.”

No comments: