Around the world, in both developed and developing countries equally, divorce rates have increased tremendously during the twentieth century, regardless of the world's diversified cultures, religions, value systems, etc, making divorce a universal modern phenomenon. With older generations, women would have rather maintained a miserable marriage than endure the tragedies of dissolving one. This thesis investigates the changing attitudes towards divorce along with the underlying causes for its skyrocketing rates in the world generally and in Egypt, specifically. I frame a comparison between older and younger generations who have experienced both marriage and divorce. I used two theoretical approaches to explain that generational gap in divorce rates: modernization theory and feminism theory. In light of Modernization theory, those changes are due to change in certain social variables from the past until now. These are the changes in family values and gender roles, the rise of the level of education for women, the increase in employment opportunities for women and hence economic independence, sexual openness versus sexual repression, the exposure to the West and its media, and the wide expansion and use of the internet. Feminism emphasizes the change in women's perception to themselves due to economic empowerment and the reduced stigma associated with divorce as the main factors for the increasing divorce rates. Qualitative research methods are what I used mainly, interviewing sixty respondents on the subjects, who were mostly divorcees, and hearing their narratives. I initiated this research with mainly one question on my mind about the causes of the generational gap in divorce and it ended with many more questions; some I explored in my thesis and some are still left for future research. My findings shed light on the role of changing gender roles and partners expectations of marriage, women new empowered status due to education and employment, the double standards in marriage choices, marrying for all the wrong reasons including to just have sexual relations, sexual dissatisfaction resulting, and exposure to the internet and the media, with the internet being responsible for over 60% of the demise of the marital union. With a divorce taking place in Egypt every six minutes, the incompatible marriage choices and using the internet later on as a quick fix to problems resulting from that incompatibility are major contributions of my research. The role of education, counseling, NGOs and positively using the media are my suggestions to reduce divorce rates.


School of Sciences and Engineering

Degree Name

MA in Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Rizzo, Helen

Committee Member 1

Nosseir, Nazek

Committee Member 2

Justus, Anne

Document Type



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