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03/12/2021 Egypt (International Christian Concern) –  A proposed amendment to Egypt’s Personal Status Law has sparked an outcry among human rights and female advocacy organizations. Several groups claim the proposed amendments set women back 200 years.

The amendments restrict women’s rights in regards to marriage contracts, divorce, and guardianship of children. Though in the public and business sphere, women can sign contracts themselves, the new law would not allow women to sign their own marriage contracts. Instead, a male guardian would be required to sign the document. The male guardian would also have the authority to declare the contract null under certain circumstances within the first year, without the woman’s consent.

In regards to children, guardianship in all aspects is designated to the father. Women would need to acquire written consent from the father to travel with her children. Christian women in particular are discriminated against in their guardianship rights. Should the husband convert to Islam, custody of the children automatically is granted to the father.

The restrictive law will soon be reviewed by parliament. Civil society groups are raising their voices in an attempt to be heard by the authoritarian regime.

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