The prevalence of dowry culture continues in Pakistan, even amidst the economic downturn and inflationary pressures. While families have been forced to alter their lifestyle choices due to double-digit inflation, parents seeking to marry off their daughters still face the burden of dowry expenses, leading some to postpone weddings until more favorable circumstances.
Weddings in Pakistan have traditionally been extravagant affairs, with families from various socio-economic backgrounds saving extensively for their children’s big day, particularly their daughters’ weddings. These celebrations involve multiple events, gaudy clothing, gold jewelry for the bride’s trousseau, and elaborate venues and menus.
However, escalating inflation and diminished purchasing power have dampened the desire for extravagant weddings. Many parents now seek to reduce costs by limiting the number of events and guests. Despite these efforts, the burden of dowry expenses remains an inescapable challenge.
Parents, like Farzana, face difficulties in finding suitable suitors for their daughters who do not impose excessive dowry demands. The increasing costs of furniture, kitchen accessories, clothes, and gold jewelry make it nearly impossible for parents to fulfill these demands.
The market has witnessed a 30 to 50 percent increase in wedding expenditures over the past year, posing challenges for low and middle-class families in preparing dowries for their daughters. Parents have started abandoning traditional ceremonies and opting for cheaper bridal outfits and lower-quality dowry items to control expenses.
Guest lists and wedding rituals have also experienced changes, with smaller gatherings and selected dishes becoming more common. People are now celebrating fewer rituals and inviting fewer guests, focusing on essential ceremonies and simplified menus.
Sindh’s Minister for Women Development, Syeda Shehla Raza, acknowledges the persistence of dowry as a societal issue. She emphasizes the need for collective efforts to eliminate dowry culture and urges a move away from extravagant wedding rituals. The Sindh government is committed to promoting women’s rights and vows to continue taking strong steps in this regard.
Despite the economic downturn, the practice of dowry remains deeply ingrained in Pakistani society. While families are adjusting their wedding plans to accommodate financial constraints, the elimination of dowry culture requires collective efforts and a shift towards simpler and more affordable wedding traditions.