An Egyptian lawyer has sparked controversy after proposing part-time marriage for divorced and unmarried women in the Arab world.
Ahmed Mahran has suggested that a husband takes a second wife but instead of living with her would just visit her for a few hours a week, pitching it as a “solution” to the “plight” of millions of divorcees.
“A mutual husband or a husband for some time or a borrowed husband, even for one day per week, is better than the moral deviation the society has reached,” Mahran has said.
“In order to eliminate divorce and curb the spread of divorce and the rise of marriage age there is a trilateral initiative: part-time marriage, a borrowed husband, marry her and her divorced friend.”
Women have rejected Mahran’s suggestions for reducing them to cheap and humiliating commodities and say that if they want to marry, they will look for a husband that wants to spend time with them and their family.
Mahran’s proposal comes several months after the Egyptian government first started debating amendments to the personal status law which was renounced by some 300 organisations on the grounds that it perpetuates the culture of discrimination on the basis of gender.
Among the proposals, the bill stipulated that any male within the family of a woman would have the right to annul her marriage within one year if she married without his consent.
At the time Shaimaa Aboelkhir told MEMO that law eliminates women from legal and official decisions related to her children including taking away her right to make decisions over their healthcare, education and travel.
Thousands took to social media under the Arabic hashtag ‘guardianship is my right’ to rally against the law amid a huge and ongoing debate about women’s rights in Egypt.
Several young social media influencers have been imprisoned on charges such as “debauchery” and “violating family values” for simply having a presence on social media.
The government has consistently prosecuted perpetrators of sexual harassment and sexual violence whilst intimidating and punishing the victims instead.
Late last year Mahran suggested that couples try “experimental marriage” under which couples draw up a marriage contract containing articles agreed on by the couple and if one of them breaks it they must pay financial rights to the other to end the union.