Presentation on theme: "WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION/CUTTING? Edilberto Loaiza Ph.D. Strategic Information Section, DPP. UNICEF"— Presentation transcript:
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION/CUTTING? Edilberto Loaiza Ph.D. Strategic Information Section, DPP. UNICEF firstname.lastname@example.org
Definition of FGM/C Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) includes a range of practices involving the complete or partial removal or alteration of the external genitalia for non-medical reasons. Shell-Duncan, Bettina, and Yiva Hernlund, eds. 2000
FGM/C Violates the Rights of Girls and Women FGM/C violates girls and womens fundamental human rights: –It denies them of their right to physical and mental integrity –It denies them of their right to freedom from violence and discrimination –It denies them in the most extreme case the right to life An extreme example of discrimination based on sex
FGM/C: When and How The procedure is generally carried out on girls between the ages of 4 and 14 it is also done to infants women who are about to be married and, It is often performed by traditional practitioners, including midwives/traditional birth attendants and barbers, using scissors, razor blades or broken glass
FGM/C: Indicators Prevalence(%) of FGM/C among women aged 15-49 Prevalence(%) of FGM/C among daughters Percentage of women 15-49 years old who believe the practice of FGM/C should continue
FGM/C: Magnitude According to a WHO estimate, between 100 and 140 million women and girls in the world have undergone some form of FGM/C (WHO, 2000) It is further estimated that up to three million girls in sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt and Sudan are at risk of genital mutilation/cutting annually (Yoder et al. 2005)
In the majority of countries, FGM/C is performed by traditional practicioners
BELIEFS vs. PRACTICES SUPPORT OF FGM/C Support for the practice is not universal and it tends to vary within and between countries
Support for the continuation of FGM/C is substantially lower than the percentage of women that has undergone the practice
SUPPORT OF FGM/C Socio-economic and demographic differentials Age Education Place of residence Religion Womens empowerment Decision-making in regard to health care, large household purchases, Non-acceptance of wife-beating
Support for the continuation of FGM/C varies across countries and ages
In 10 of the 15 countries, support for the continuation of FGM/C is higher among women with no education
In most countries, women residing in rural areas tend to favour the continuation of FGM/C
Egyptian and Ethiopian women who support the continuation of FGM/C are respectively 3.2 and 2.1 times more likely to accept that a husband is justified in beating his wife if she argues with her husband
PERCEIVED CAUSES/BENEFITS Custom and tradition/good tradition Religion Other reasons Preserves a girls virginity Protects her from becoming promiscuous Prevents her from engaging in immoral behaviours A girl cant be married unless she is circumcised Hygiene and cleanliness FGM/C brings greater pleasure to husbands
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FGM/C prevalence rates are slowly declining Attitudes towards FGM/C are slowly changing as more and more women oppose its continuation Strategies to end FGM/C must be accompanied by holistic, community-based education and awareness- raising Programmes must be cross-country specific and adapted to reflect regional, ethnic and socioeconomic variances Detailed disaggregation of data by socioeconomic variables can significantly enhance and strengthen advocacy efforts at the country level
Even though cultural practices may appear senseless or destructive from the standpoint of others, they have meaning and fulfil a function for those who practise them. However, culture is not static; it is in constant fl ux, adapting and reforming. People will change their behaviour when they understand the hazards and indignity of harmful practices and when they realize that it is possible to give up harmful practices without giving up meaningful aspects of their culture. Female Genital Mutilation, A joint WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA statement, 1997
Is religion associated with the FGM/C status of women?
How consistent is household wealth in determining the practice of FGM/C?
Support for the continuation of FGM/C is found in greater numbers among Muslim women
In Mali, women supporting the continuation of FGM/C are more likely to have their husbands deciding on their own health care
MARRIAGEABILITY BENEFITS The belief that FGM/C is necessary to ensure better marriage prospects for a daughter is most widespread among women in Côte dIvoire (36 per cent), Niger (29 per cent) and Eritrea (25 per cent) Anthropological studies indicate that prospects for marriage and social connections through marriage are the main factors behind the persistence of FGM/C Changes will happen when the self-enforcing social convention nature of FGM/C will be addressed
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