Comment: Reaching the tipping point against female genital mutilation

Lancet. 2005 July;366(9483):347 – 349

Comment: Reaching the tipping point against female genital mutilation

Shaaban L, Harbison S


Female genital mutilation, also known as female genital cutting, is a deeply rooted cultural practice in more than 28 African countries, parts of the middle east, and pockets of Asia. Annually, an estimated 2 million girls come of age in such areas. Support for the practice in communities is broad-based. Mothers, mothers-in-law, fathers, and religious and community leaders defend the practice on the basis of a girl’s future role as wife and mother. Reasons cited for support include its role as a rite of passage into womanhood, marriageability, curbing sexual desire, and protecting virginity. It is not condoned by any major religion but often has socioreligious significance. Despite its cultural entrenchment, a gradual reduction is occurring in a number of countries, even without targeted interventions. The challenge is to identify successful approaches to accelerate the decline…

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