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How Nubian women are challenging marital traditions in Egypt

While Nubian society has opened up in ways that afford more opportunities to women, marriage to a non-Nubian man is still taboo.
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CAIRO — Some Nubian women have left their region's villages to make their own way, either by completing their studies or seeking out new job opportunities, and have succeeded in integrating into the world outside their societies. Others remain constrained by Nubia's traditional mores and customs. Still others have gradually moved away from those traditions. Nevertheless, the bonds of marriage continue to stand, as families insist that Nubian women marry Nubian men in order to preserve the Nubian heritage throughout their lives, according to accounts given by Nubian girls to Al-Monitor.

Nubia is located in southern Egypt along the Nile River and extends into northern Sudan. It is characterized by a local cultural heritage distinct from the rest of the Nile River Valley, as reflected in their traditions and customs, as well as their various forms of art and architecture. The area's geographic isolation and linguistic distinctiveness reinforces the importance of Nubian women marrying Nubian men. On the other hand, Nubian men are often free to marry whomever they desire. Some women believe in the importance of marrying a Nubian man in the conviction that they are the only ones capable of protecting them, while comparatively few are willing to embark on the difficult course of attempting to marry outside of Nubia.

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