The different forms of dower in Egypt

Christoph Buehler, Leibniz Universität Hannover

The handing over of dower at the time of marriage from the groom and his family to the bride is a constituting element of Muslim marriages and has significant influences on women’s living conditions during and after marriage. In Egypt, dower in the form of mahr becomes increasingly replaced by ayma, the direct conveyancing of items from the groom to the bride, implying that dower can take place in different forms. As dower in Muslim societies in general and its different forms in particular have not received much recognition in quantitative social research up to now, the paper intends to identify their prevalence in Egypt and to explore their different motivations. Results on the basis of 7,189 couples who participated in the Labor Market Panel Survey for Egypt (ELMPS) from 2012 and 2018 document the dominance of ayma and the fact that mahr is primarily transferred in a symbolic manner. Estimates from multinomial probit choice models also show that the different forms of dower are motivated by particular understandings of marriage, women’s willingness to actively shape their conjugal homes and life after marriage, men’s ability to finance dower, and couples’ intentions to display their social status.

Keywords: Family demography, Gender, Culture, ethnicity, race, religion and language, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session P6.