November 20, 2013 8:17 AM

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The study by the University of Portsmouth's School of Languages and Area Studies found that giving a dowry is still regularly practiced in parts of the country, leading to gender inequalities on a wide scale.

The research carried out in Kerala also showed that mothers-in-law were the main harassers and perpetrators of violence against young women, nearly 50 percent of the time.

"Our findings depressingly show that little has improved in the last decade, and dowry remains a fundamental problem in women's lives. The data shows that investing energy in securing better gender equality has not decreased rates of dowry and related abuse," said lead researcher Dr Tamsin Bradley.

"Our research highlights that many women, once they reach the status of mother-in-law, are so invested in the patriarchal system that they become the main harassers and perpetrators of violence against young women," she added.

"Dowry is shown to shape a marriage system that limits women's opportunities as well as subjecting them to high instances of abuse," she said in reference to her latest study, which involved interviews with different age groups of both men and women.

The older women said that young brides not being properly prepared for marriage nor being able or willing to fit in with the behaviour of their new family were key factors contributing to domestic violence.

Of the younger women who reported experience of abuse, 45 percent said that their mother-in-law was the perpetrator of the violence.

The study was conducted in Engandiyour village in Kerala and was split into two phases.


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