In chapter 2, when discussing violence against women, Burn discusses two key points as the very underpinnings of dowry murder and honor killings. Particularly, Burn is categorical that dowry murder has its underpinning in male’s greater economic power. To Burn, men are more economically endowed than women, so most societies have socioeconomic systems that are patriarchal in nature. Thus, the tradition of paying dowry is one of the starkest manifestations of male economic domination. Upon entering marriage, a couple does not start from a point of equality, since dowry has been paid. Thus, Burn sees the dowry as a subtle signifying of ownership of the man over the woman. This becomes a breeding ground for domestic violence and murder.
The other factor that underpins honor killings is men’s greater political power. This inordinate concentration of power in the hands of men makes men control institutions and use the same institutions to oppress women who go against the grain. In highly patriarchal and undemocratic societies, men control the instruments of coercion to subject women to honor killings.
In chapter 3, Burn contends that the government holds a large sway on women’s reproductive choices through legislation. For instance, many states have legislations that proscribe abortion, while there are others which provide very meager funding for women’s reproductive health. Secondly, Burn states that the global economy undercuts women’s reproductive choices when policies touching on demography and reproduction are mooted and implemented without the consideration of women, who are the child bearers.
There are several shreds of evidences that Burn uses to underscore her point. For instance, she uses statistical provisions to show how the government can derail the exertion of women’s free will in reproductive matters. For instance, Burn quotes the UN statistics which show that in 2003, there were 35 ...