Addition to my previous posting
I am not at all saying that parents do not love their daughters--though there are lot of instances where daughters are considered a burden because of the social norms( which makes dowry a necessary evil) that are biased against her--but we have to go deeper into the nature of that love when we are talking about the empowerment of a girl children. A parent who is sending her girl child to tough trekking course is no less loving to her daughter than the parents who are over protective of her/his daughter and consider daughters should be sweet like sugars and boys should be hard like rocks, so that daughters will be deprived of the thrill and skill of hard trekking and boy would be deprived of being a dancer if he wishes to--now I am again not denying that men dancers are not there..I am talking about not exceptions but majority of the cases of how we inculcate stereotypical values in our children in the name of love.
Now the same love would not let the girl decide on her life course in most cases because a daughter is "Paraya Dhan"( others' property) a daughter is like a bird who will fly off the nest, and a son would continue the Vansh and vansh parmpara( family lineage and tradition of the family) . So obviously a daughter will not be encouraged in the normal course to make decisions in her life journey and ofcourse I agree that reasons are patriarchal and male dominated social and cultural norms and the love for the children is also conditioned/confined within those boundaries.
Or else why would we hear that a woman is abused in her marital home, goes to her natal home, is advised to tolerate for the sake of honor of both families( now my friends, there are cases like this too) and finally rather than going to her matrimonial home, she on the way jumps in a well because she knows there is no support system and she cannot rely on her natal family, or may be does not want to rely on them because after all she is an alien in what used to be her own space in her childhood, and she would not be able to live there in dignity especially if her brother too is married and staying along with her parent/s. Hats off to parents who have tried to understand the problems( genuine) the daughter is going through and convinced her that the space is still hers and she has unfettered rights to use it .
But we will be just moving in the circle if we do not become the change we are espousing. Just saying dowry should not be given because it is an offense will not solve the problem, for the reasons Aishwarys has pointed out, unless the girl child is nurtured into a grown up adult whose capacities have been nurtured in the fullest sense of the term: capacity to realize her own potential, capacity to decide on her life course( that does not mean she would not respect her parents or would not love her parents). So her journey towards her empowerment would begin from her home, from her childhood through adulthood, and the part of that life she spends in her natal home would play a crucial part in ensuring that she is prepared to face all the ups and downs of life with dignity, confidence and awareness of her rights, including the ups and downs of her marital life with dignity, confidence and awareness of her rights. Then questioning the age old norms of her natal home becomes as much a legitimate exercise on her part as questioning the age old norms which are biased against her( by implication, women) in her marital home. But that capacity to question, and resist against the norms which would not let her "be" have to be encouraged in her childhood at her home and to a major part in school the two powerful sites of socialization.
This posting should not be misunderstood that I am not serious about my previous postings on opportunity cost and maintenance/compensation entitlements of a woman in the divorce and domestic violence cases(I mean genuine cases).