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600,000 Egyptian Women Get Married Before Age of Consent: Study

600,000 Egyptian Women Get Married Before Age of Consent: Study

Siwan girls clad in traditional white and black Siwan wedding dresses (Credit unknown)

A study conducted by the International Population Council, the National Council for Population and Development and Assiut University on rates of early marriage in upper Egypt has revealed that about 600,000 women have been married before reaching 18 years old in 2015-2016.

The study titled “Towards policies and programs based on scientific evidence to demolish early marriage in Egypt”, states that the average age of marriage in Egypt is 20 for females and 26 for males. Yet, the problem of early marriage is still exaggerating in rural areas in Upper Egypt, according to the privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm. Egyptian law bans marriage under 18.

The study has further revealed that one-quarter of married women aged 25 to 29 in Egypt have married under 18, and this percentage rises to 33.3 percent in rural areas. However, 3.7 of girls currently under 18 are already married and 5.2 percent are engaged. These percentages represent about 250,000 girls.

The study added that there are several dangers caused by early marriages, both health and societal dangers. Early marriage deprives girls of their right to education and work, also increases the possibility of domestic violence and leads to poverty. Also, girls who get married at an early age often have miscarriage and stillbirth.

In 2015, Minister of Population Hala Youssef announced that 15 percent of all marriages in Egypt are child marriages.

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