This article in the New York Times addresses some alarming violence based gender patterns in India. As discussed in class, there is a severe gender bias in the number of females to males in India...
The other side of this problem is that arrests appear to be slow to come if at all for deaths linked to dowry. Family's compete for a good groom and will promise a high dowry to secure a wedding. However, the dowry may be too high for the family to pay, and slow payments may lead to death or maybe the groom's family demands more money than agreed at the time of the wedding. Below is another excerpt from the same article.
In the 2001 census, the sex ratio — the number of girls to every 1,000 boys — was 927 in the 0-6 age group. Preliminary data from the 2011 census show that the imbalance has worsened, to 914 girls for every 1,000 boys.
Women’s groups have been documenting this particular brand of gender violence for years. The demographer Ashish Bose and the economist Amartya Sen drew attention to India’s missing women more than a decade ago. The abortion of female fetuses has increased as medical technology has made it easier to detect the sex of an unborn child. If it is a girl, families often pressure the pregnant woman to abort. Sex determination tests are illegal in India, but ultrasound and in vitro fertilization centers often bypass the law, and medical terminations of pregnancy are easily obtained...
Another form of violence against women — dowry deaths — is equally well-documented, and just as ugly, though Indians are so used to these that they have become almost invisible. The names of Sunita Devi, Seetal Gupta, Shabreen Tajm and Salma Sadiq will not resonate strongly for most Indians, though they were all in the news last week for similar reasons. Sunita Devi was strangled in Gopiganj, Uttar Pradesh, the pregnant Seetal Gupta was found unconscious and died in a Delhi hospital, Shabreen Tajm was burned to death in Tarikere, Karnataka, and Salma Sadiq suffered a miscarriage after being beaten by her husband in Bangalore.
Demands for larger dowries by the husband’s family were behind all of these acts of violence, so commonplace that they receive no more than a brief mention in the newspapers. National Crime Bureau figures indicate that reported dowry deaths have risen, with 8,172 in 2008, up from an estimated 5,800 a decade earlier.
Monobina Gupta, who has researched domestic violence for Jagori, a nongovernmental organization, draws a direct link between these killings and the abortion of female fetuses: “The dowry is part of the continuum of gender-based discrimination and violence, beginning with female feticide. Following the arrival of” economic “liberalization in 1992, the dowry list of demands has become longer. The opening up of the markets and expansion of the middle classes fueled consumerism and the demand for modern goods. For instance, studies show that color television sets or home video players have replaced black-and-white television sets, luxury cars the earlier Maruti 800, sophisticated gadgets basic food processors.
“It is similar to what is happening with female feticide,” she said. “As the middle class comes into more money, it is accessing more sophisticated medical technology either to ensure the birth of a boy or get rid of the unborn girl.”
What is the cost to the Indian family of having a girl, or to the boy’s family of forgoing a dowry? The economist T.C.A. Srinivasaraghavan puts the average dowry around 10,000 rupees, or $225. That average figure masks the exorbitant dowry demands that are often made by the family of the groom.