Marriage represents the oldest custom of the status of individuals, covering different situations and being at the crossroads of multiple regulatory systems: the positive law of States, religious and moral standards, but also customary rules. Historically and culturally, the contractual conception of marriage and its modalities, violating women’s freedom, have been some of the elements supporting patriarchy and a “gendered” subjugation: suffice it to consider its configuration in some of the main religious conceptions (canonical, Islamic and Hindu). The revaluation of the female role and the need for its legal protection have recently come to the legal attention of the “Western” world, which has attempted to curb the practice of forced marriages through ad hoc legislative interventions. In Europe, a very important role has been played by the Istanbul Convention of 2011, which prompted many States, not only European, to intervene to counter the phenomenon, starting to use the concept of “gender” as an analytical tool to question the “natural” foundation of many cultural and institutional constructions. With regard to how to prevent forced marriage, possible responses must necessarily be based on four fundamental points: self-determination; the ability to rebel; strict laws; and increased awareness.
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