Even though poverty rates have fallen rapidly in the last thirty years, will extreme poverty ever be eradicated?
In Hindu traditions, women are viewed as lower than men. They aren’t allowed to inherit property or carry the family name, and a woman’s social status is entirely dependent on her husband. In an ancient Hindu belief, a woman whose husband has died (becoming a widow) is expected to throw herself on her husband’s funeral pyre and burn to death rather than return to her pre-marriage family. This tradition is called sati . Baby girls are seen as thieves who cost the family money to raise—when a daughter grows up, she requires a dowry to bring to her husband. For centuries, sons have been given additional and better food, health care, and education than daughters. Families that feel they have unnecessary daughters often smother or strangle a newborn baby girl. The teachings of the Chinese scholar Confucius were very similar to Hinduism. He taught that men were superior to women and that girls are a burden to raise. When girls marry in China or South Korea, they are considered lost to a new family. However, Chinese women do not have to provide a dowry.
12 ASIA: FACTS & FIGURES
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