Last December at TEDxCairo Women we listened to a selection of astounding stories from a great lineup of amazing and brave women. We met with the equally talented and funny as hell Gilan Alaa and Fatma Abdel Salam after their inspiring talks that hit a nerve. Now we meet again to talk about the many wrong reasons women in Egypt get married for and here is what they had to say.
What do you think are some of the wrong reasons women get married for?
Gilan: women in Egypt often get married to break-free from their controlling parents and snarky comments. They believe that once they get married they will live a happily ever after fairy-tale, however when reality doesn’t meet their expectations they resort to divorce.
Fatma: parental pressure is the main reason why girls get married very young. Unfortunately we live in a society that glorifies marriage, parents prefer to see their daughters in a failed marriage over being single.
“women in Egypt often get married to break-free from their controlling parents and snarky comments.”
In your opinion, what goes wrong in most of the marriages in the Egyptian household?
Gilan: marriage has to be built on a deep conviction, unfortunately many women get married merely out of fear of losing a chance in being a mother or being called“Bayra”. This often leads to living a miserable life with a partner she can’t stand and most of the time ends up in divorce. She ends up finding herself in ongoing custody battle just because she feared what society would think of her.
Fatma: a main reason for an unsuccessful marriage is not knowing your partner well enough. We tend to rush into things just because it’s “the right thing to do” and not because we are particularly ready to make a commitment. Everyday we go on a life discovering journey trying to figure out new things about ourselves, so how on earth are we going to figure out another person who is going to become your lifetime partner.
“We tend to rush into things just because it’s “the right thing to do” and not because we are particularly ready to make a commitment.”
What advice would you give women starting their life in marriage?
Gilan: I started the “#البايرة” when I found people sympathizing with me and viewing me as an alien of some sort, all because I am still single. Don’t get me wrong I want to get married and fall in love, I just don’t want to be someone’s wife just to please society. My advice would be don’t get married unless you are fully convinced that is what you want.
Fatma: Don’t rush into things and remember starting a family is not that easy. Life is full of ups and downs, and as partners you will always have the tendency to blame each other for everything that goes wrong in the relationship.
Don’t fall head over heels when a man drops the M-bomb on you before even you’ve had the chance to fall in love. Just remember don’t rush into things just because the “Ibn El Halal” has knocked your door.
Special thanks to TEDxCairo Women