Marriage with the mind, not the body

From September 2022 until the end of the 16 Days of Activism to Combat Violence Against Women activities in December 2022, Edraak Foundation for Development and Equality (EFDE) launched a campaign entitled #MarriageWithTheMindNotTheBody, to open a societal discussion about the widespread crime of “child marriage” which is widely supported in the Egyptian society, that consequently led to the delay of issuing a law that explicitly criminalizes the phenomenon and condemns those involved. The campaign’s primary aim is to mobilize for the issuance of legislation criminalizing child marriage in Egypt while shedding light on the efforts of civil society institutions and national councils that have been made over the years to combat the phenomenon of child marriage.


As part of its social responsibility to combat the crime of “child marriage” in Egypt, EFDE launched the “#MarriageWithTheMindNotTheBody” campaign intending to shape public opinion in favor of legislation criminalizing such crime and establishing effective executive mechanisms to protect girls and their rights.

The end of 2021 witnessed the first legislative action when MP ‘Enas Abdel Halim’ introduced the first clear and explicit legislation criminalizing child marriage. Despite the importance of this legislation in contributing to combatting such crime, it only gained attention in April 2022 after the government approved a draft law submitted to the Egyptian parliament on the criminalization of child marriage.

The first half of the following year (2022) saw a widespread movement, with positive steps taken by the Parliament in referring several draft laws submitted by MPs for discussion, aimed at criminalizing child marriage. These included the draft law submitted by MP ‘Amira Al-Adly’, which criminalizes the forcing of children into marriage with penalties for those involved. Additionally, there was the draft law by MP ‘Bilal Al-Baroulsi’, which sought to increase and aggravate the penalties for anyone inciting the commission of the crime of child marriage, as well as the one submitted by MP ‘Suhair Abdel Hamid’ regarding the legal capacity to marry.

The parliamentary movements coincided with the foundation’s efforts towards criminalizing child marriage. Through its campaign, the foundation sought to unify societal efforts in issuing legislation criminalizing child marriage in Egypt, which is one of the most important decisive factors in confronting this crime. Additionally, the campaign aims to shed light on the social and religious justifications that contribute to the prevalence of child marriage in society, as well as highlighting the efforts of civil society and governmental councils made over the years to combat this crime.

Campaign activities:

  • We produced a number of infographics and comics on the cultural legacies and sayings that are told and taught to girls from a young age to persuade them to marry early.
  • The campaign included a round table titled “Joint action and strengthening the efforts for criminalizing child marriage through legislation” which was attended by a number of parliament members who submitted draft laws to criminalize child marriage, representatives of development agencies in Egypt and a number of civil society practitioners who are interested in women’s and children’s issues, as well as representatives of a number of judicial and medical governmental bodies.
  • One of the campaign’s outcomes was the publication of a legal paper by Counselor Moataz Abu Zeid – Vice President of the Egyptian State Council and Public Law Lecturer- entitled “Towards an effective movement to issue a law to criminalize child marriage.”
  • Additionally, we were keen on engaging other initiatives and organizations to work on the campaign such as “Love Matters” and “Your Voice”. We held a number of discussion sessions via Zoom with a number of decision-makers, parliamentarians and Senate members, social media influencers, and activists working in civil society organizations, government research centers, and psychiatrists.
  • Believing in the importance of unifying efforts to work on such issues, we highlighted the influential campaigns recently carried out by other organizations, such as the #Not_Before_18 campaign, the Egyptian Women Lawyers Initiative’s Campaign and New Woman Foundation’s Campaign.
  • Furthermore, we produced a series of graphic stories depicting documented cases of child marriage from the “Violence Against Women Crimes Observatory” in 2021, which tragically ended with the victim’s murder or marriage disownment. These stories portray real-life accounts of girls and women who were either killed or committed suicide due to being married off or forced into early marriages, sourced from the observatory’s report.
  • The campaign also included a number of written articles on the legal, social and economic implications of child marriage, and was concluded with an article by journalist “Esra Saleh”, titled “How do minor girls learn about marital sexual relations?” that was published on “Al Manassa” platform where it received great interaction and various feedbacks.

To view the full campaign flyer: child marriage campaign – Newsletter Ar october 2022 (1)

For more information on the campaign: newsletter_Marriage with the mind, not the body advocacy campaign En (1)

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