The Problem of Underage Girl's Marriage in Egypt


Added on  2019-09-25

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The problem of underage girl's marriage in Egypt and its implications on SustainableDevelopmentLiterature ReviewThe literature review section presents literature on the early marriages taking place in Egypt and helps in reflecting light on this subject. This section considers various new dimensions on the subjects in the form of following sections:Early Marriage Statistics in EgyptCausesImpactRelated health IssuesFailure of lawsImplications on the economic condition of countryEarly Marriage Statistics in EgyptAccording to Rashad, Osman, Roudi-Fahimi, the policies that are related to the marriages ofyoung women are needed to be changed so that their social and economic impacts could beminimized. The marriage-age gap, as compared to the world countries, is especially pronouncedin the Arab societies. The study further elaborated that one-quarter of the recently concludedmarriages in Egypt had women at least 10 years younger than their husbands. They alsohighlighted that the early girl marriages are commonly associated with early child bearing andhigh fertility due to which, there are grave risks for women and their children. In most generalterms, and in most of the societies, early girl marriages have been widely recognized as harmfulsocio-cultural practice, which is the cause as well as outcome of human right violations. According to Dominic Chavez, (2015), a recent report of World Bank, around 17% girls in Egyptare married before they could see their 18th birthday. Chavez finds that while, on the one hand,the incidents of child marriages in Egypt is on the decline, but on the other hand, the religiousand traditional customs and ideals have significantly hindered this process. Girls’disproportionate access to education is among the key causes of child marriage in Egypt. 13% offemales and 3% of males aged 10 to 29 have never been to school. In Egypt, as soon as the girlsreach to the age of puberty, the community norms start dictating their lives and they are made tobe married, with which perpetuating cycle of illiteracy and poverty starts. The study focuseshighly on the human trafficking in the name of early marriage in Egypt where Egyptian girls arebought for temporary marriages and are forced into labour or prostitution. These efforts aresupported by the girls’ families who are benefited from the transaction. The report concludes bypresenting two approaches namely the rights based approach in order to ensure the child’s rightthat are being upheld by the customs and religious acts and not merely by constitution and apartnership approach for integration of civil society, government and private sector.According to Ezer, et al (2006), the association between forced marriage and slavery wasreflected in a recent report in terms of Special Rapporteur on Slavery. So, in Egypt, over theyears, however, the idea that forced and early marriages are forms of slavery and, therefore,servile marriage has been lost. It is also important, says the author, to emphasize this point that

forced marriage may include the circumstances that are similar to the situation of sexual slavery,however, an important fact should not be lost in translation that the recognition of the forcedmarriage is similar to a distinct crime. The study presents the clear statistics of early marriagesstating that these are still prevalent in regions like Yemen, Oman and Egypt. In Egypt, 10 percentof the women of age bracket 15-19 years old and a whopping 52 percent of 20-24 year oldswomen are married. The study also presents the impacts of early marriage by associating it withhigh fertility and early childbearing posing a great risk on health of women and children. Thesewomen are less likely to know about contraceptives and are at exposed danger of sexuallytransmitted diseases. According to Rashad, (2015), in the rural areas in Arab world, especially in the rural settings ofEgypt, there is a prevalence of poverty that has made the people extremely helpless and they areeven ready to sell the girls of their families to the wealthy Sheikhs of Saudi Arabia. Egypt alongwith other Arab countries such as Jordon and Morocco have a lot of controversy surrounding thephenomena of underage girls’ marriage. This is because the greed and financial need in certainfamilies in these countries have made the fathers to sell of their young daughters to the elderly.As per the views of Farzaneh Roudi-Fahimi, (2016), early marriages in most of the casescompromise girls’ development and freedom that often results in early pregnancy and socialisolation. The countries that belong to Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region haveconsented to make laws regarding the minimum age of marriage, which ranges from 13 years inIran to 20 years in Tunisia and for females, the age is 15 years in Yemen to 21 years in Algeria.According to a survey that has been published by the National Council for Women, elaboratedthe gravity of the issue of early marriage in Egypt. The survey found that 22 percent of the girlsare grappling with the issue of early marriage and problems that were ensued in their lives onaccount of that. .Causes of Early MarriageThe research by Tremayne (2006) demonstrated that in multicultural paradigm, the early girlmarriage is often conceptualized in terms of violence that has a relevance to differentcommunities, religions and cultures. The author presents various reasons for the early marriagepractices and presents the fact that the early marriages are continuing to be coerced and areusually used as a tool for the economic survival. According to the study, poverty has beenidentified as the prime motivation behind this practice. With both the boys and girls beingimpacted by the early marriages, the human activists are seen to place higher emphasis on well-being of the girl owing to serious consequences suffered by them leading to major health risks.The study highlights the impact of education and rise in female employment on the earlymarriage on even possible consequences of giving up the early marriage practice and its impactcan be helpful. However, little is known regarding these choices on providing new solutions forencouraging fairer conditions to the young girls. The study also reflects the access of educationto women in improving marriage chances, however it must be provided with analytical capacityand for encouraging them to question these unjust practices.When a younger bride is married to a person with significant age group, she is seen to be at anadvantage in negotiating these matters with her husband concerning her own health care needs.

One of the reason behind increased illiteracy is the early marriage leafing to leaving of theschools making it difficult for these girls to escape from issues like poor health, poverty and highfertility. According to an Egyptian study conducted in 2008, it was reported that there could be a lot ofunseen reasons behind the underage marriage of the girls in Egypt. So, this inherited socialmalaise has nothing to do with the prevalence of poverty in the Arab world. According toShehadeh, (1998), the availability of money constitutes around 30 % of Egyptian familiessuggesting that the poverty is ranked second among the causes of the early marriage in Islamicsocieties like Egypt. It has been reflected that around 27.8% of the Egyptian live below thepoverty line. Egypt being the most populous Arab country is said to the home of the largestnumber of child brides in the world. (Fahimi, 2007).As per the findings of Calandruccio, (2005), certain households of Egypt, consider the girl childas burden. In these homes, the structure of patriarchal ideologies prevail to large extent so muchso that the passage of the lives of the women are under constant authority of their families andthen their in-laws. In these societies such acts of subjugation are significantly pronounced andthe fate of the girls are sealed the moment they are born. Especially, the families that havelimited resources perceive them as burdens and in this process they cultivate an asset for theadvantage of another household. The article presents a human rights perspective and addressedvarious facts that have not been addressed clearly in the past by focusing the context and causesof marriage and how severely it impacts the Egyptian society.Impact of Early MarriageAccording to an in depth study conducted by Smits, (2007)the child marriage jeopardizes theemotional and physical well-being of the girls because they are prematurely being forced intosexual activity and with that they are systematically exposed to more sexual violence. There is agrowing concern in the world community because they have started to understand that early girlmarriages is an extremely severe human right violation that has greatly curtailed the libertieswith which children are entitled. The author did not hesitate to state that the child marriageinterferes the natural trajectory of growth, learning, social and emotional processes. The studyhas reflected upon the major challenge of sending girl student to schools. The study depicted thatthe school participation is seen to decrease strongly after the age of 11. As per Farkhonda Hassan, (2009), the Egyptian as well as international researchers have timeand again confirmed and corroborated that the child marriage and due to which the violenceagainst women are widespread in Egypt. As far as family violence is concerned, research haveconsistently been suggesting that whenever, the girls are forced into the early marriages,particularly in the Arab world, they are more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped or killed bycurrent or former husband or anyone else. There has been a study regarding ecologicalframework that has been largely helpful in understanding among personal, situational and socio-cultural factors that have combined to cause abuse (Welchman, 2001). For an instance, a reviewof national surveys conducted in more than eight countries found that there was a consistent

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