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Nari Jibon: Women bloggers and the dowry problem in Bangladesh

Originally posted on Rising Voices

Sufia Khatun writes in the Nari Jibon Bangla Blog Amader Kotha about bride dowries which are still a menace in Bangladeshi society. Although the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1980 made dowry a punishable offence to prevent the oppression and even murder of married women, it is still stealthily practiced throughout Bangladesh.

Sufia describes her classmate who was married to a butcher because her father could not afford the dowry for a better groom. She expresses her anger [bn]:

Poverty does not bring happiness, but rather it destroys an organized life. Dowry has become an inevitable common practice in our society. The poor fathers in our society think that fatherhood of a female child is a curse. He has to spend a lot on girls from birth; carrying out expenditures of livelihood, education and what not. It’s the same for a male child, if not more. But during marriage the males do not have to go through what females endure.

It has become a practice in our society that if the daughter is to be married with an educated bridegroom, he and his house must be properly decorated (with dresses, furniture etc.). So many educated girls like Shilpi are married with an uneducated man. She has to stay back at home without applying her education. It can only depress girls like her.

She asks [bn]:

“The dowry virus has infected every woman in Bangladesh. How to get cured of it? Will Bangladesh not be freed from poverty? Will the Bangladeshi women never be free from dowry?”

In another post Sherin Sultana writes about her friend Muna who eloped with her boyfriend in an extra-marital affair. She points out how her boyfriend was able to trick her into draining money from her and resort to mental and economical violence instead of physical. It seems love does not understand logic and self-defence.

Ruma Akhter wondered what she would do if she were the Prime Minister of Bangladesh:

I have a dream to be A Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Though it is an impossible wish, but I really wish that. If it would happen in my life, I would like to use all the opportunities to develop our country.

I would offer a terrorism and nepotism-free society for the people of Bangladesh. I would try to turn the wheel of fate of the poverty-stricken people.

Education is the precondition of development. If I were the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, I would make education compulsory for all.

For the alleviation of unemployment problem and poverty, I would take some effective steps, such as- initiative of industrializations, agricultural development etc. To develop agriculture I would try to use scientific methods in agricultural sector.

I would try to do everything to make the people happy and prosperous of my country. That’s why I wish – if I were A Prime Minister!!!

Compulsory education prevails in many developed countries and education is the catalyst for development. No nation can be developed if they cannot understand their deficiencies. I am sure she would make a successful Prime Minister and, in fact, Bangladesh has already had two women Prime Ministers.

Nari Jibon celebrated the birthday of Nari Jibon founder, Dr. Kathryn B. Ward, the person behind Nari Jibon. Mayanur Akhter wrote her gratitude referring to Professor Ward as ‘mother’ and then describing a bit of what the Nari Jibon project does.

Instructor Taslima Akhter posts a video-interview with Monwara Begum who faced domestic violence after marriage: Read the transcript here.

More Nari Jibon blogger profiles were posted recently.

In Nari Jibon’s regular fortnightly meeting on December 8, 2007 they discussed about their progress and the upcoming blogposts and trainings. Nari Jibon’s staff M.G. Rabbany Sujan decscribes how Nari Jibon is acting as an alternative skill provider to marginalized women in Dhaka.

Nari Jibon can surely boast of these successes.

1 comment

  • Dowry is part of the HIndu religion and it’s brings hardship to those people. Some Muslims practice this in the rural areas which is forbidden in Islam. Education is the key to make this people understand that dowry causes pain and suffering to families and it degrades women. Educating, especially to women, should be a must.

    By common sense it should be the grrom side to offer to the family of the bride.

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