Periyar also fought against the traditional customs of marriage a suppression of women in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He felt that though arrange marriages were meant to enable a couple to live together throughout life, but it was actually a manipulation to enslave women. What was even worse was the concept of child marriages that prevailed during that time. It was believed that it would be a sin to marry after puberty. Another practise which is still prevalent even today is the dowry system where the bride's family is supposed to give the husband a huge payment for the bride. The purpose of this was to assist the newly wedded couple financially, but in many instances dowries were misused by bridegrooms. The outcome of this abuse turned to the exploitation of the bride's parents wealth, and in certain circumstances, lead to dowry deaths. There have been cases where women have been murdered, mutilated, and burned alive because the father of the bride was unable to make the dowry payment to the husband. Periyar fiercely stood up against this abuse meted out against women.
In the ancient times, women in India did not have the property rights of their family or husbands. Periyar seriously fought to address this issue. While birth control remained taboo in society of Periyar's time, he advocated for it not only for the health of women and population control, but for the liberation of women. He also made efforts to make sure education reached women as well like the male counterpart.
In the Tamil society, Periyar and his movement have achieved better status. It was his conviction that in matters of education and employment there should be no difference between men and women. There was a time when women never pursued higher studies, but now it is seen that women too, opt for engineering studies.
Through his advocacy for the equality of men and women, girls started to receive rights over ancestral property along with male children. In one of his meetings he even wondered why the scientists should not think of producing test tube babies.
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