Early marriage is dynamically more perceived as a discriminating issue, it is considered as a negation to the young girls' rights. This paper investigates the matter of early marriage in Egypt. It highlights particularly the cause behind its persistence, its negative effects, explains to what extent it represents an obstacle to the girls' education and how it deprives girls from the right of making choices in life. From a wide-ranging analysis of resources related to the issue of early marriage, the results recommend that it occurs due to variety of reasons such as cultural beliefs, traditions and economic reasons. This practice threatens not only girls but also future generations and the whole society, because young girls get married instead of going to school for education. However, this practice conflicts with the objectives of "Ishraq" program; which fight against early marriage in Upper Egypt through education.
According to the book Early Marriage: A Harmful Traditional Practice by UNICEF, statistics shows that the proportion of early marriages in urban areas up to 11.3 % while in rural areas 26.5 % and from the poorest 20% in Egypt 31.6% of the girls are married at the age of 18 while 6.7 % of the 20% of the richest in Egypt are also married at the age of 18 (32). Statistics also states that child marriage is a characteristic of rural societies as 36% of girls were married at age below 16 years old. Thus, early marriage rates are high mainly in rural areas because those areas are economically and socially the most lagging areas of Egypt and the majority of their people live beneath the poverty line. Therefore, for the reason that the phenomenon of early marriage is spreading in the villages than in cities, proves that the issue is linked by cultural, traditional and economic reasons.
Firstly, there are many cultural and traditional reasons behind the presence of early marriage issue. In specific areas parents look at this marriage from a positive perspective, which mainly they think that it works on the girl’s protection from deviation, moral decay, and abnormal behavior, also they consider this marriage as immunity for the girl. As Dr Lynn Thomas discussed in his book Child Marriage A Guide for Global Policy Action, some parents especially in rural areas prefer to marry off their daughters as early as possible because they see that girls represent a threat to the family honor (17). This means that parents disconnect their girls from interacting with the community and keep them home till they get married because of the risk that their girls may get into sexual relationships before marriage and actions like this could destroy the family’s image and honor. Subsequently, early marriage is closely linked with worries about girls' sexuality. Thus, there must be effective efforts which work on building a new image for girls; girls should not be considered as burdens or threat to the family, but as human beings who have equal rights.