© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI: 10.1163/156920808X381658 Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World 6 (2008) 315–350 www.brill.nl/hawwa Between Change and Continuity: Age and Marriage Trends in Gaza Nahda Shehada Institute of Social Studies, the Hague firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract In Gaza, one ﬁnds both an impressive rate of early marriage and the highest rate of fertil- ity in the world. 42 percent of women marry at 18 years or less whereas half the popula- tion is under 15. This phenomenon begs the following question: why is early marriage ever more frequent in Gaza but on the decline in the West Bank? This article proposes to develop an historical and sociological analysis of marriage trends in Gaza based on a dia- chronic examination of local Islamic court archives and interviews with people practicing this type of marriage today, while taking into account changing economic and political circumstances. Keywords Early marriage, Gaza, refugees, Islamic courts, ethnography Introduction Gaza is a demographic puzzle. 1 It is a place where the highest life expect- ancies for both sexes in the Arab region are recorded and population data shows low mortality rates (Goujon 1997: 24). Females enjoy one of
Hawwa – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2008
Keywords: ISLAMIC COURTS; ETHNOGRAPHY; GAZA; EARLY MARRIAGE; REFUGEES
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