Intergenerational attitude changes regarding female genital cutting in Nigeria.

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011 Nov;20(11):1655-61. Epub 2011 Sep 15.

Intergenerational attitude changes regarding female genital cutting in Nigeria.

Alo OA, Gbadebo B.

Department of Sociology, Adekunle Ajasin University , Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria.


BACKGROUND: The practice of female genital cutting (FGC) is widespread in Nigeria and varies from one ethnic group to another. In 1994, Nigeria joined members of the 47th World Health Assembly in a resolution to eliminate the practice, and since then, several steps has been taken to achieve this objective.

METHODS: Nigeria joined members of the 47th World Health Assembly sixteen years ago in a resolution to eliminate female genital mutilation. This study uses data from 420 women aged 15?49 years who had at least one surviving daughter to investigate changes in FGC prevalence among mothers and daughters. The sample was systematically selected through stratified random sampling across the six states of southwest Nigeria. Focus group discussion, and an in-depth interview with fourteen women considered to be specialist in FGC were also held to compliment data generated from the interview.

RESULTS: The analysis indicated an FGC prevalence rate of 75% and 71% for mothers and daughters, respectively. It further indicated that the practice is rooted in tradition despite the fact that 52% of the respondents are aware of the health hazards of FGC. Educated mothers were found to be less likely to favor the cutting of their daughters.

CONCLUSIONS: It is suggested that educational campaigns aimed toward parents should be intensified. Legal recourse, prohibition of operations, improvement in women’s status, and sex education are also suggested as means of eradicating the practice.

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