Parliament member, Souad Al-Masry, from Port Said suggested raising legal marriage age for girls to 21-years-old, in order to address the phenomenon of child marriage, elaborating that child marriages have become a threat to the public security of the Egyptian society. Notably, the current legal marriage age for girls is 18-years-old.
Al-Masry stated in a press statement that marriage constitutes an integrated society, therefore the rules must be sound. Many girls and boys before that age do not have the necessary experience to raise children, maintain family cohesion, and create a new responsible generation.
The MP called on the media to hold seminars, and educational sessions for young people, who are going to marry sooner, with an aim to raise their awareness of the importance of marriage, and how parents should build a new generation that can contribute to a better future.
She also determined the need to make the punishment harsher on all parties involved in child marriages.
As for Sakina Fouad, adviser to former interim president Adly Mansour for women’s affairs, she told Daily News Egypt that child marriages are a violation of childhood, and ought to be considered as child trafficking.
She explained that the rise in the number of child marriages in Egypt is a result of the economic conditions and the lack of girls’ awareness about their rights as well as to parents’ exploitation of some girls’ weakness, and their lack of awareness of their rights.
Fouad also noted that the negative practice had already existed, but what helped it return at high rates in 2013 was when the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in the country. At the time, the Brotherhood-dominant parliament proposed a law to drop the minimum age for female marriage to 16-years-old, but luckily, Fouad said, that parliament was dissolved before the law was approved. She elaborated further that the crime still exists yet trafficking in the name of religion and using it as a cover for backwardness and extremism is at the core of the matter, which is a violation of the wellbeing of the girl and the rights of women. Thus, she asserted that there is a demand to increase religious awareness and awareness of the true religion, as that will stand in the face of the negative practice.
Moreover, she commented that it is not easy to currently profit from the proposed law, since it will take time to combat traditions and wrong Islamic convictions, which will not be easily eradicated.