Global Resources

Rewriting Divorce in Egypt: Reclaiming Islam, Legal Activism, and Coalition Politics

Author: D. Singerman
Publication Date: Apr 2003
Egypt's Personal Status Law (PSL) coalition, made up of activists, lawyers, government officials, NGO leaders, legislators, and scholars, has been lobbying for 15 years for changes to the personal status laws that govern marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance. These efforts resulted in the passage in January 2000, of ?The Law on Reorganization of Certain Terms and Procedures of Litigation in Personal Status Matters? (Law No.1, 2000). This legislation was controversial because it improved the rights of women to initiate divorce and established a family fund to provide child support to impoverished families. One of the key challenges for the PSL coalition was to present their position in ways that coincided with Islamic Sharia laws, as opposed to appealing to secular or feminist traditions. This development is important both because of the victory achieved at the policy-making level, and also because it represents a type of coalition politics that allows for the mobilisation of Islamic values as a positive force for feminist social and political change.