Growing rejection of female genital cutting among women of reproductive age in Amhara, Ethiopia

Cult Health Sex. 2009;11(4):443-452

Growing rejection of female genital cutting among women of reproductive age in Amhara, Ethiopia

Rahlenbeck SI, Mekonnen W.

a Consultant in Public Health, Berlin, Germany b School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Addis Abeba University, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia


Data on female genital cutting are presented from 1942 women aged 15–49 years in Amhara region, Ethiopia, 2005. Reportedly 69% (1333/1942) had undergone the procedure. Rates showed a secular decline, decreasing from 77% in women aged 45–49 years old to 59% in those age 15–24 years. Of women with daughters, 64% had at least one circumcised daughter. Again, prevalence declined from 78% in daughters of mothers aged 45–49 years to 45% in those aged 15–24 years. In logistic regression, controlling for maternal FGC status, age and religion, maternal education was a strong predictor of having a circumcised daughter. Fifty‐four percent of respondents disapproved of the continuation of FGC. In logistic regression controlling for covariates, education and self‐empowerment were factors associated with rejecting FGC. Women who had ever attended a school had a 4‐fold increase in the odds of disapproving the practice than those who never did and respondents who scored high on empowerment indices had a 1.5‐fold increase in the odds to favour discontinuation compared to women scoring low. Future efforts to eliminate this harmful practice should be particularly directed to illiterate populations in rural areas. Efforts strengthening women’s empowerment will accelerate the progress of these programmes.

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