In discussions about the problem of dowry leading to indebtedness and adverse social consequences one hears the remark “Why do people take dowry for their sons and then give it to their daughters? Or, is it that they have given it for their daughters and want to take it for their sons.”
While discussing gender in many a public forums/lectures when given a proposition that from those present if one takes all the females and males separately and then aggregates the total number of sisters and brothers including themselves then there would be more number of sisters among the females and more number of brothers among males the overwhelming response is that the proposition cannot be true.
Unfortunately, the proposition is true and the households of net dowry givers are different from net dowry takers. To prove the point, one gives a simple example. In single-child households the divide is complete – either it is a daughter or a son; in two-child households they are either both sisters or both brothers or a sister and a brother; it is only when one comes to three-child households that one observes that there could be a brother with two sisters or a sister with two brothers if they are not either all sisters or all brothers.
This gender divide in society, to begin with, is a statistical generality and it is unfortunate that common sense understanding as also public policy discourse misses this basic point. This gets further aggravated under son-preference.