Destroying the Dowry System

Acting as a school gender equality club, students brainstorm a plan to support women fighting against dowry in their local communities.

Task Force: Destroying the Dowry System

Congratulations!

You and your friends started a gender equality club at your school. For your first campaign, you have decided that you want to help support women fighting against the practice of the dowry in their local communities. You must educate yourself on the practice and decide how you can best support the women and organizations who are fighting to end it. 

Why Are We Doing This?

Dowry is a payment made to a groom’s family upon marriage. Even though it is illegal in most countries, dowry is still practiced around the world, mostly in South Asia and the Middle East, and countries with large populations from those regions, like the UK. The practice is dangerous because it makes women vulnerable to violence, puts families in difficult financial situations, and perpetuates negative stereotypes about a woman’s worth. It’s difficult to stop a cultural practice just by making it illegal, so activists and educators play important roles in ending the dowry. It’s also important that solutions to the problem come from the affected communities, and not from outsiders thinking they know what’s best. 

Video

Steps

  1. Research more about the practice of dowry around the world. Where is it still legal? Where is it most prominent? What are the biggest dangers it causes? 
    1. Also research groups, organizations, and activists who are already working to end the practice of dowry in their local communities. (Be sure to focus on local groups, not large international organizations.) 
  2. Now, craft your plan. Consider the following questions:  
    1. What types of groups or organizations do you want to support? Where are they located? 
      1. What is their focus? (activism, helping survivors of domestic violence, education, etc) Why did you choose that focus? 
    2. How will you support them? (Raising money, raising awareness, etc).  
    3. Will you incorporate any educational initiatives in your own school or community? Do you think people in your community are aware of the scope of this issue? 
    4.  How can you make sure your plan has its intended impact? 
  3. Think through the possible objections to your plan and how you would respond to them.  
  4. Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your plan will help dismantle the dowry system. 

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • You do not have to come up with an exhaustive plan. It’s better to come up with a few ideas that you feel confident with and spend time thinking through possible objections to them. 
  • You don’t have to worry about answering all possible objections, but you should have some defense of why you think your idea would work. 
  • Your suggestions should be things that school clubs could realistically implement. 
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