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Bride-price and its links to domestic violence and poverty in Uganda : a participatory action research study

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  • Social Sciences


As a marriage rite, bride-price is commonly practiced in many African and other countries. While it has an on-going cultural longevity, the practice has been subjected to increased scrutiny by women's activists and academics concerned by its negative impacts on women and girls. Conceptualizing bride-price as a violence against women issue, this article reports on an innovative participatory action research study, carried out through an international collaboration, which sought to explore the links between bride-price, domestic violence and poverty and to lead to locally developed strategies for social change. The study found that bride-price was seen, overwhelmingly, to have mainly negative impacts on rural women and thus to require reform. In situations where domestic violence is common, bride-price introduces additional ways in which men can justify the abuse of women. The research clearly demonstrates that the commoditization of wives has led to deleterious social impacts, especially in terms of increased domestic violence and male power over women. The introduction of a gendered lens into conceptualizations of the practice and the ensuing campaigning and policy work, including this research, have been key to beginning the process of transforming views on bride-price.

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