there have been several media reports within the past week or so regarding the rise of aborting girl foetuses and the resultant shortage of girls in indian society. this is an old, old story, but here are some new (for me at any rate) arguments/facts mentioned:
-the increasing abortion of second girl children amongst india's rich and educated does not mean their higher preference for boy children, but rather indicates their greater access to sex selection, abortion and their ability to evade the law. [or both perhaps?]
-caste continues to perpetuate dowry because the system restricts the supply of marriage partners, as a result of which, efficient matching of individuals doesn’t occur. caste thus acts as "a barrier in the free market of marriage. Then dowry becomes a method to bid for mates, signal social status and perpetuate an arms race to reach the top of the pecking order. Free enterprise has unshackled the economy, but the beneficiaries are operating in a restricted marriage market, limited by caste. They just demand higher dowries now."
-to counteract all this, laws can be used more creatively: tax breaks for mixed-caste marriages, grants for having girl children, government benefits for gender neutral employers [yes!]