In different parts of the world, paying dowry is a strong practice. In some cultures. The man provides the dowry, in some, it is the women, and in others, both share.
In India for example, when a girl is born, the mother starts putting aside money and other items for her dowry, otherwise, with the little income the families have, it is difficult to be ready for her wedding.
In Iran, the dowry is equally shared between the two parties, and though the new generation is changing a lot of these cultures, it remains very prominent in rural areas, where a girl will not be taken seriously by her in-laws if she enters their son’s house empty-handed. Egyptians have very similar dowry traditions as the Persians where most of the household furniture is provided by the bride side, while the groom provides the housing and wedding expenses.
In Greece, women are usually the ones who own the property where the couple will reside. In other words, the girl inherits the family house and lives in it when she gets married. If a family has several daughters, they provide each with a house or land to be used when she gets married. There are exceptions to this rule but when some families cannot provide such a treat for their daughter, she will be reminded of that fact when problems arise in their household, no leverage for this bride. And her influence will remain limited in that household.
While sharing the costs of establishing a new home is a welcome act, forcing it on families with low income or limited resources, is not fair. Branding a woman who enters the matrimonial home without a dowry, as a less important person should stop in our societies. What women bring to homes should be their contributions towards building vibrant societies and the female attributes of extreme sense of justice.
And when they become mothers, they carry enhanced qualities of pure love that will ultimately help build societies with a focus on peace that will unite the hearts of all human beings.
We seem to be far from the perfect society, but the long journey starts with the first step.