Mohamed Abdel Salam
CAIRO: 44 percent of women have been sexually harassed, 75 percent were circumcised, and 37 percent married before the age of 18, revealed a survey of Egyptian youth conduced by the National Population Council.
The comprehensive survey, done in collaboration with the Information and Decision Support Center of the Egyptian Cabinet, revealed 88 percent of young people between the ages of 15 and 25 describe themselves as ‘religious,’ and 64 percent believe the tradition of female genital mutilation, also known as FGM or female circumcision, is important and necessary.
75 percent of women between the ages of 10 and 29 said they had been circumcised.
The survey found that only 16 percent of young people participated in the recent Parliamentary elections and 28 percent believe in the existence of nepotism and favoritism in getting jobs.
More than two million children do not attend school, about 80 percent of whom are from rural areas and Upper Egypt. Financial burden, customs and traditions are major barriers to female education. 20 percent of young people never attended school and cannot read and write, the study revealed.
Also, dropout rates remain high. One in four young men dropped out of technical education.
The survey showed that University education is still a luxury for the rich: 46 percent of students in higher education belong to wealthy families, compared to 4 percent of poor families. Two thirds of young people cheat during their studies. Half of students receive private lessons and 40 percent have taken tutorials to improve their skills.
Despite significant improvement in the fight against child labor, the survey said 3 percent of children are still working, mostly females in traditional occupations such as household chores.
The survey said 37 percent of women are married before the age of 18. 71 percent of both males and females believe that a girl must obey her brother, even if he is the youngest, and that a wife must obey the orders of her husband in all circumstances.