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The topic of the proposed study will be child marriages in Egypt. This study is important to the social, economic, and political development of young girls in the Middle East because Egypt is only an example of several countries within the wider Arabian Peninsula, which practice child marriage. There is a potential to extrapolate the findings to explain gender issues in the Middle East because Egypt is an important and influential state in the region. The main limitation of the study will be its focus on the North African nation because its contextual focus is limited to the legal, cultural and economic conditions of Egypt. Therefore, it could be difficult to extrapolate its findings across other states that do not share its dynamics. The proposed study will also be limited to the period in which it will be conducted because the legal, social, and cultural dynamics of Egypt are volatile and any of the variables that will be influential in the study may change. The proposed study will not delve into details surrounding the main causes of child marriages in Egypt, or its effects; instead, it will only focus on proposing unique solutions to manage the problem, relative to the social, political, and economic dynamics that have characterized Egypt in the last decade.
Several studies have explored child marriage in Egypt as a social problem. However, most of them have focused on explaining the causes and effects of the practice on the victims, without proposing tangible or holistic solutions on how to prevent the practice in a specific context. Additionally, some of the solutions proposed to curb the practice have mostly been presented from a legal standpoint. An example of a study that examined this issue from a cause-effect perspective is that of Alkrenawi (2013), which highlighted financial reasons as being the main causes of child marriage. Montazeri, Gharacheh, Mohammadi, Rad, and Ardabili (2016) also discussed child marriages as a social problem by trying to investigate its causes. The authors also pointed out that the main motivators for its occurrence are financial in nature. Bravo, Martinez, and Ruiz (2014) similarly explored the social problem from the same perspective and argued that child marriage is a product of financial challenges in Egyptian families. Wodon (2015) also uses the same reasoning to explain child marriages as a social problem in Egypt. He said that such unions occur because of financial reasons. Similarly, he demonstrated that low-income families are most affected by it. Khater and ZeinEldin (2013) also explored the main causes of child marriage and said it stemmed from retrogressive cultural practices in the country. The same authors examined how the vice has affected young girls in the country by providing evidence of how it has led to a decline of educational standards and low self-esteem. Chata and Quentin (2016), Melamed (2016), Akram (2015), and Yount et al. (2016) also stick to the analysis of child marriage from a cause-effect perspective.
As explained at the start of this literature review, these studies demonstrate the quest by current studies to examine child marriages as a social issue by investigating their main causes. Studies that have strived to propose solutions to child marriages have mostly focused on legislative solutions. Particularly, they have examined what the government could do to stop the vice without giving adequate attention to other proposals that could end the vice as well. For example, Wijffelman (2017) said that ending child marriage requires a legal solution because the Egyptian government should allocate more resources in formulating laws that discourage people from continuing with the vice. Sowey (2017) also supports the same strategy as a solution for curbing the practice. However, he recognized that a legal solution would be inadequate in fully tackling the problem. Elden and Mosleh (2015) who advocated for a change in Egypt’s legal regime to curb child marriages as a social problem support this view. Maswikwa, Richter, Kaufman, and Nandi (2015) also hold the same opinion and argue that since child marriages is not a form of slavery, it should be defined as child abuse.
Based on the above analysis, a few studies have proposed alternative solutions for stopping or managing child abuse outside the legislative framework. Walker (2015) tried to suggest a different approach to managing the problem through advocacy for education, but few experts have pursued this line of reasoning as a possible solution for ending child marriage. Therefore, similar to other research studies highlighted above, many researchers have discussed child marriage by striving to find out its main causes and effects. The proposed study will go a step further and focus on providing solutions to end the social problem in Egypt. Furthermore, instead of limiting the analysis to legal solutions, it will also explore social and cultural answers to the problem. In other words, it would provide a holistic view of how to curb it.
What could be done to stop child marriages in Egypt?
The dependent variable for the study will be the incidence of child marriages in Egypt. The estimated number of child marriages in the state will denote this variable. The independent variables will be culture, education, and attitudes. These variables refer to the subjective qualities of a society that inform its beliefs and practices. A summary of the dependent and independent variables appear below.
- Dependent Variable: Incidence of child marriages
- Independent Variables: Cultural changes, education standards, and societal attitudes
The proposed research will be a desk research. The researcher will use secondary information from published articles as sources of materials. This approach is chosen because it would be technically difficult to undertake a nationwide study on the research topic because of logistical reasons. The steps that will be taken in conducting the investigation will align with this research approach. The study will also be a comparative analysis of existing proposals to stop child marriages in Egypt and the actions taken by other countries to curb the same practices in their jurisdictions. Therefore, the researcher will investigate whether the solutions adopted by other countries could be applied in Egypt and whether doing so could minimize the incidence of child marriages in the North African nation. The analysis will mostly focus on evaluating what other countries have done to stop the practice in terms of varying cultural dynamics, educating the public about child marriages and changing their attitudes about the same practice to minimize incidences of child marriages in their jurisdictions. Based on this approach, the proposed review will be inductive because there will be an attempt to generate a new theory based on an analysis of existing data.
The main limitation of the study will be its focus on Egypt because its contextual focus is on the legal, cultural and economic conditions of the country. Therefore, it could be difficult to extrapolate its findings across other regions that do not share the same social, political, and economic dynamics. The proposed study will also be limited to the period in which it will be conducted because the legal, social, and cultural dynamics of Egypt are volatile and any of the variables that will be influential in the study may change with time. The investigation will not delve into the details surrounding the main causes of child marriages in Egypt; instead, it will only focus on the solutions about the same, relative to the social, political, and economic changes that have happened in Egypt in the last decade. Therefore, it will possibly benefit from the extended collection of data.
As explained in this paper, the topic of the proposed study will be child marriage in Egypt. Thus, the findings of the study will be instrumental in mitigating the mental, health and social costs of child marriages in the North African state because child marriages have such implications for victims. The study will also be important to the society because it will help people to understand the social factors enabling child marriages in Egypt and the wider Middle East region, including the main factors that have led to its continuation in the last century. In other words, it will add to the growing body of academic literature surrounding child marriages in Egypt and the social and economic progress of women in the wider Arab peninsular because it will explain the main factors affecting women in Egypt and the wider Arab region.
Bravo, M., Martinez, P., & Ruiz, I. (2014). Arranged marriages: Women for sale. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 13(2), 564-569.
Elden, N., & Mosleh, H. (2015). Impact of change in law on child marriage in Egypt a study in two Egyptian governorates. The Egyptian Journal of Community Medicine, 33(4), 25-37.
Khater, E., & ZeinEldin. R. (2013). A simulation approach for human fertility measurement. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 3(11), 36-43.
Maswikwa, B., Richter, L., Kaufman, J., & Nandi, A. (2015). Minimum marriage age laws and the prevalence of child marriage and adolescent birth: Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa. International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 41(2), 58–68.
Montazeri, S., Gharacheh, M., Mohammadi, N., Rad, J., & Ardabili, H. (2016). Determinants of early marriage from married girls’ perspectives in Iranian setting: A qualitative study. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2016(1), 1-8.
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Sowey, H. (2017). From an emic perspective: Exploring consent in forced marriage law. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 3(5), 1-10.
Walker, J. (2015). Engaging Islamic opinion leaders on child marriage: Preliminary results from pilot projects in Nigeria. The Review of Faith & International Affairs, 13(3), 48-58.
Wijffelman, A. (2017). Child marriage and family reunification: An analysis under the European Convention on Human Rights and Dutch Forced Marriage Prevention Act. Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, 35(2), 1-22.
Wodon, Q. (2015). Child marriage, family law, and religion: An introduction to the fall 2015 issue. The Review of Faith and International Affairs, 13(3), 1-5.
Yount, K., Crandall, A., Cheong, Y., Osypuk, T., Bates, L., Naved, R. T., & Schuler, S. R. (2016). Child marriage and intimate partner violence in rural Bangladesh: A longitudinal multilevel analysis. Demography, 53(6), 1821–1852.