Unveiling the Reality: Forced Marriages in Egypt

Unveiling the Reality: Forced Marriages in Egypt


Forced marriages continue to be a prevalent issue around the world, violating the basic human rights of individuals, particularly women and girls. Unfortunately, Egypt is no exception. Forced marriages in the country continue to take place, despite efforts to combat this violation of human rights. This article aims to shed light on the reality of forced marriages in Egypt, exploring the cultural, social, and legal aspects surrounding this issue. By understanding the complexity of forced marriages, we can work towards eradicating this harmful practice and ensuring the well-being and autonomy of individuals.

Understanding Forced Marriages

Forced marriages occur when one or both parties involved are coerced into a marriage against their will. Such marriages are often arranged by parents or other family members, disregarding the consent of the individuals involved. The reasons behind forced marriages can vary, including cultural traditions, economic motives, social expectations, or attempts to settle disputes or reinforce alliances between families.

Cultural and Social Factors

Egyptian society possesses a rich cultural heritage that is deeply rooted in traditions and customs. However, some of these traditional practices contribute to the perpetuation of forced marriages. The societal pressure to conform to cultural norms often leads families to prioritize tradition over the well-being and choices of individuals. Moreover, the conservative nature of Egyptian society coupled with a patriarchal structure further reinforces the practice of forced marriages. Gender inequality and the belief in preserving family honor are factors that sustain this harmful practice.

Legal Perspective

Legally, forced marriages are prohibited in Egypt. The Egyptian Constitution recognizes the importance of personal freedom and the right to choose a partner. Additionally, Egyptian law mandates that the minimum age for marriage is 18 for both males and females. However, despite these legal provisions, forced marriages persist due to the lack of effective implementation. Challenges such as inadequate resources, corruption, and societal acceptance of forced marriages hinder the proper enforcement and execution of these laws. Furthermore, the absence of concrete penalties for those involved in arranging forced marriages contributes to the continuation of this practice.

Consequences of Forced Marriages

Forced marriages have severe consequences for those involved, particularly for the victims who are forced into these unions. The lack of agency and control over one’s own life can lead to immense psychological and emotional distress. Victims often suffer from depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and a sense of helplessness. Moreover, forced marriages frequently result in early pregnancies, which pose serious health risks for young girls who are not physically or emotionally prepared for motherhood. These young brides often experience limited education and economic opportunities, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and dependence.

Efforts to Combat Forced Marriages

Despite the challenges, there have been ongoing efforts in Egypt to combat forced marriages and protect individuals from this violation of their rights. NGOs, human rights activists, and women’s rights organizations have been actively working towards educating communities about the negative consequences of forced marriages and advocating for legal reforms. Additionally, initiatives providing support services and safe spaces for victims have been established to provide the necessary assistance and protection.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Are forced marriages only prevalent in rural areas?
A: No, forced marriages occur in both rural and urban areas of Egypt. Despite some regional variations, the issue is not limited to a particular geographic location.

Q: What is the role of religious practices in forced marriages?
A: Religious practices can sometimes be misinterpreted or manipulated to justify forced marriages. However, it is essential to note that forced marriages are not a religious requirement in Islam or any other religion.

Q: Can men also be victims of forced marriages?
A: While the majority of victims of forced marriages are women and girls, men can also be subjected to forced marriages, particularly in cases where economic motivations or family alliances are involved.

Q: What is the government doing to address forced marriages?
A: The Egyptian government has taken steps to address forced marriages, such as implementing legal reforms and raising awareness. However, more needs to be done to strengthen enforcement mechanisms and protect potential victims.


Forced marriages remain a deeply rooted issue in Egypt, perpetuated by cultural and social factors, as well as inadequate legal enforcement. To combat this harmful practice, it is crucial to challenge societal norms, improve access to education, and strengthen legal protection for potential victims. By unveiling the reality of forced marriages in Egypt, we can work towards creating a society where all individuals are free to make their own choices and live lives devoid of coercion and oppression.

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