EGYPT – Egyptian member of parliament Elhamy Agina has called for women to undergo mandatory ‘virginity tests’ to ensure their virginity prior to being admitted to universities in Egypt. He had previously been disciplined for stating women must undergo female genital mutilation to “reduce their sexual desires” to match that of Egypt’s “sexually weak” men. Agina is a member of the parliament’s human rights committee.
Angina called on the Minister of Higher Education to issue a mandate that would require him, or his officials, to review all virginity tests prior to providing female students with university cards.
Angina said, “Any girl who enters university, we have to check her medical examination to prove that she is a Miss. Therefore, each girl must present an official document upon being admitted to university stating she’s a Miss. (‘Miss’ being a censored way to refer to the woman as a virgin.) No one should be upset by this decision. If you’re upset then that means you’re scared that your daughter is [or was] in an ‘urfi’ marriage behind your back.”
Urfi marriages, also known as customary marriages, involve a marriage without the public approval of the bride’s guardians. In other words, while the marriage contract may be officiated by a religious cleric or a state official, the marriage takes place in secret and only requires two other witnesses. In recent years, there has been an increase in undocumented urfi marriages, leading some to criticize the practice. Conservative clerics have said that undocumented urfi marriages are a cover for pre-marital sex.
According to Agina, if a woman ‘fails’ the virginity test, then her parents will immediately be notified. Agina hopes that this will act as a deterrent for both men and women hoping to enter an undocumented urfi marriage.
Agina called on Egypt’s Parliament, media, and university officials to support his initiative. Responding to his statements, Egyptians on social media have ridiculed Agina, calling for him to face harsh discipline.