Bride Price | How Much Are You Worth?
Bride price in many African societies is tied to the economic life of the family, what do you really know about bride price?
Across Africa, some believe a bride price instills a sense of accountability into a marriage while others feel bride price encourages domestic violence.
What is bride price?
|Wedding rings symbol of unity|
The Kenyan constitution outlaws the obligation to pay a bride price but it is widely understood that it will be paid. Bride price should not be confused with dowry. A is dowry money or property that a wife or wife's family gives to her husband when the wife and husband marry in Northern Africa and many other parts of the world.
The Government aims to enhance society's awareness of women's role in the socio-economic, political and cultural transformation of the country; uphold women's rights and change relevant inheritance laws; ensure women's participation in education, economic activities and employment and improve mother-child health care services.
The Government has abolished child and arranged marriages; prohibited bride price and dowry, raised the legal age for marriage to 18 years and ensured equal rights of women to initiate divorce proceedings. Every citizen has the right of access to land for housing and farming upon reaching the age of 18. Very often, the only option for girls and women in situations of extreme marital stress is to run away.
Though illegal, dangerous traditional practices such as circumcision prevail in many areas. According to WHO, more than 50 percent of Kenya's women have undergone ritual circumcision. Starting in 1983, President Daniel Arap Moi issued a decree prohibiting the practice of female genital cutting.
However, elders from a tribe in northern Kenya adamantly opposed his decision, forcing Moi to retreat and seek new ways of addressing women’s rights. Ritual circumcision in many parts of Africa symbolizes adulthood, making young women eligible for marriage.
Another issue is women’s inheritance rights are limited under customary marriage law. The male family members of the deceased have the legal right to the man’s property. This can leave the widow and children with a lack of shelter and economic support.
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