Spinsters and security

Jane Kinninmont on Egypt’s recurring anxieties over unmarried women

The World Today Updated 27 November 2020 Published 27 May 2016 2 minute READ

Jane Kinninmont

Policy and Impact Director, European Leadership Network

According to Egypt’s National Security Council, the growing number of unmarried women is a threat to the security of the nation. More likely, it reflects broader social and economic trends that make the government worried about political unrest among young men.

The age of first marriage in Egypt has been rising for decades, and alarm over its impact on the family and the nation is not new. Concerns about social and demographic changes tend to come with broader controversies about the state of the nation, the role of youth, and economic worries. After all, while long-term demographic and social trends have enabled women to marry later and to study for longer, it is immediate socio-economic pressures that make marriage unaffordable for many Egyptian men.

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