Female Genital Mutilation

  • Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation, also known as Female Circumcision, is the intentional disfiguration or alteration of the outer portion (and sometimes inner portion) of a woman’s genitalia. This is practiced in many countries for cultural or religious reasons on women and young girls. It can lead to many health issues that the women suffer with for the rest of their lives which can cause problems with menstruation and intercourse, promote infections, and even lead to the death of the women or any children born. Warning: Some of the sources and media related to this issue include graphic images and video. Proceed at your own discretion.

Related Groups NGOs working on the issue
  • Amnesty International
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa
  • Save The Children
  • World Health Organization
Links to additional relevant NGOs
Related Books
  • The Female Circumcision Controversy
  • Desert Flower
  • Cut: One Woman's Fight Against FGM in Britain Today
  • Female Genital Mutilation as the Basis for Refugee Status: Comparative Perspectives
Sources to Consult
Related Profiles

Ideas for helping out with the issue
  1. The UK Kering Foundation is working to provide mental health support to women who have experienced FGM- http://www.keringfoundation.org/tackling-fgm-initiative
  2. At 28 Too Many you can attend events, volunteer, or sponsor a team to end FGM not medicalize it- http://28toomany.org/campaigns-and-projects/28-too-many-campaigns/
  3. The Global Alliance Against FGM offers events to raise awareness, collect donations for projects, and overall work to end FGM and raise awareness- http://www.global-alliance-fgm.org/en-gb/projects.aspx
  4. Equality Now collects donations to do campaigns and projects to achieve a just world for women and girls. They focus on FGM- https://www.equalitynow.org/issues/end-female-genital-mutilation
  5. Daughters of Eve provide resources for women who have experienced FGM and they work on initiatives to end FGM- http://www.dofeve.org/stopping-fgm.html

Allotey, Pascale, and Daniel D. Reidpath. "Reproductive Rights Advocacy: Concentration of Effort, Dilution of Intention." Development 48.4 (2005): 69-74. Web.

In this paper, the authors discuss female genital cutting and use it as a channel through which a stronger case focusing on human rights for women can be built. They also discuss women’s rights regarding reproduction and connect that with general human rights as well. This paper is from a research database and appears to contain no spelling or grammar errors.

Antonazzo, Monica. "Problems with Criminalizing Female Genital Cutting." Peace Review 15.4 (2003): 471-77. Web.

This section discusses female genital cutting in culture and criticizes the westernized feminist view which condemns the many countries that partake in this circumcision.  The author also explains the types of FGC and how it produces culturally acceptable and marriageable women, as well as the reasons it should not become illegal. She explains many of the reasons that making it illegal will cause problems and suggests other methods to stop FGC. This source seems reliable but it clearly not objective. It includes information about legislation and readings that could benefit a researcher.

Boyle, Elizabeth Heger, and Kristin Carbone-Lopez. "Movement Frames and African Women's Explanations for Opposing Female Genital Cutting." International Journal of Comparative Sociology 47.6 (n.d.): 435-65. EBSCO. Web.

This source includes an explanation of what female genital cutting and empirical evidence for countries in which it is prominent. It goes on to provide reasons that African women give for their anti-FGC stance, and contrasts this with reasons that westernized countries generally give to convince members of FGC-prominent countries that the practice should end. This source includes some empirical evidence as well as information about organizations and countries that are fighting against this practice.

Boyle, Elizabeth Heger, Barbara J. Mcmorris, and Mayra Gómez. "Local Conformity to International Norms." International Sociology 17.1 (2002): 5-33. Web.

This study focuses on the feelings of African women in various countries with various levels of modernization and the effect that these advancements have on the general opinion of FGC in a given area. It also contains empirical data and appears to be a credible source.

Brink, Susan. "Female Genital Mutilation: What It Does To A Woman." NPR. NPR, 06 May 2017. Web.

This article is from a news source, so it has a clear western bias. It does, however, include many common questions about FGC and the reasons that it is practiced. This source could be very helpful for someone who wants to learn about FGC and its effects.

Coffman, Jennifer E. "Producing FGM in U.S. Courts: Political Asylum in the Post-Kasinga Era." Africa Today 53.4 (2007): 58-84. Web.

This source explains a court case in which a woman from Africa successfully finds political asylum in the US based on a plea to escape from FGC. It explains that this is important because it sets a precedent under which other women may find refuge from FGC. This source seems credible and does not appear to have any spelling or grammar errors.

Cutting Tradition: Female Circumcision in Africa Today. By Meryl Streep. Prod. Nancy Durrell McKenna. Dir. John Howarth and Nancy Durrell McKenna. Filmakers Library, 2010. This movie explores 4 of 28 countries in which millions of women have undergone FGM. It examines the culture in which FGM is prominent and the reasons that it is so prevalent in their societies.

Easton, Peter, Karen Monkman, and Rebecca Miles. "Social Policy from the Bottom Up: Abandoning FGC in Sub-Saharan Africa." Development in Practice 13.5 (2003): 445-58. Web.

The authors follow a NGO to Sub-Saharan Africa and provide analysis on the ways that he chooses to educate people as well as the effects that the knew knowledge has on various levels of their social caste. It is a scientific analysis and provides conclusions from a social experiment that was conducted on FGM.

"Female Genital Mutilation. American Academy of Pediatrics. Committee on Bioethics." Pediatrics. U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 1998. Web.

"Female Genital Mutilation." World Health Organization. World Health Organization, n.d. Web. This article gives an overview of the statistics pertaining to FGM and the laws that have been created to combat this practice.

Furuta, Marie, and Rintaro Mori. "Factors Affecting Women's Health-Related Behaviors and Safe Motherhood: A Qualitative Study From a Refugee Camp in Eastern Sudan." Health Care for Women International 29.8 (2008): 884-905. Web.

Molleman, Gerard, and Lilian Franse. "The Struggle for Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Egypt." Global Health Promotion 16.1 (2009): 57-60. Web.

This paper describes efforts being made in Egypt in order to stop the practice of FGM. It also follows laws that have been created to the same effects and the ways that the movement in Egypt is pushing FGM closer to being outlawed. This source is from a medical journal and appears to be credible.

Monahan, Kathleen. "Cultural Beliefs, Human Rights Violations, and Female Genital Cutting." Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies 5.3 (2007): 21-35. Web.

This is a paper intended to inform medical professionals about FGM and the ways that they can better prepare themselves for positively contributing to this cause. It’s purpose is to create a medical workforce better equipped to accommodate the needs of refugees affected by FGM. It appears credible with no spelling or grammar errors.  

UNICEF. Female Genital Mutilation/cutting: A Statistical Overview and Exploration of the Dynamics of Change. N.p.: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 2013. Print.

This is a book that provides extensive statistical information as well as in depth explanations of the types of FGM and where they are practiced. It is appears very credible as it is used as a government document.

Watson, Mary Ann. "Female Circumcision from Africa to the Americas: Slavery to the Present." The Social Science Journal 42.3 (2005): 421-37. Web.

This source tracks the way that FGM came into the US as well as how the US has created laws against female circumcision. It also includes empirical evidence, graphs, and illustrations. It appears to be credible.

Yoder, P. Stanley, Shanxiao Wang, and Elise Johansen. "Estimates of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in 27 African Countries and Yemen." Studies in Family Planning 44.2 (2013): 189-204. Web.

This source mainly provides statistics for FGM in Africa. It appears to be credible and provides empirical evidence.

Abberton, Sarah . “FGM Through Poetry, We Are Not Free.” End FGM, ENDFGM, 7 Apr. 2017, www.endfgm.eu/news-en-events/blog/fgm-through-poetry/. Accessed 13 Sept. 2017.

In this poem Sarah Abberton reflects upon the reasoning she was given for why she had to go through FGM. As a child she did not quite know what was happening, but she understood the feelings she was engulfed in. She reflects on the fact that she knew she was loved but because of this event she was also unsafe and not free.

William Simmons

Currently Dr. William Simmons is researching and working on an FGM initiative. Simmons is working to provide medical professionals with the means to care for refugees who have experienced FGM. He is focusing his initiative on Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

“About FGM.” Daughters of Eve, 2017, www.dofeve.org/about-fgm.html. Accessed 12 Sept. 2017.

The map depicts the concentrations of FGM practice around the world. We see a large concentration in Africa and the Middle East. This map can make us aware of which areas we should be focusing on.

The Guardian. “All You Need To Know About FGM | End FGM.” YouTube, YouTube, 6 Feb. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN1mulqwv5g. Accessed Sept. 2017.

This video provides a very basic description of what female genital mutilation is. She discusses the 4 types of FGM, the complications, the process, and future health effects. She also discusses how they help women who come in with FGM in the medical field. Further, she discusses why FGM needs to be stopped now.

Baker, Ann. “Female Genital Mutilation: Doctors Develop New Surgery.” Time, Time, 21 Mar. 2017, time.com/4707899/victims-of-fgm-see-new-hope-in-life-changing-surgery/. Accessed Sept. 2017.

The images found in this article reflect upon FGM. They are often depicted in black and white, which sets an ominous and negative tone. In addition to that, the blades are shown very clearly and are often the focus. These photos serve as a powerful way to bring FGM to the reader’s attention. Photos make the situation real, which in turn makes people want to do something about it.

Michaels, Elisa. “#fgm hashtag on Twitter.” Twitter, Twitter, 12 Sept. 2017, twitter.com/hashtag/fgm?lang=en. Accessed Sept. 2017.

The end FGM hashtag on twitter serves multiple purposes. First and foremost, it brings it to people’s attention through a widely used media source. More particularly it brings the FGM issue to the attention of a younger population. Second of all, it encourages people to get involved in the issue. Overall, this hashtag creates conversation regarding this issue, which is where we have to start to make a change.

Nickel Pro. “Female Genital Mutilation.” Gado, GADO, 8 Feb. 2015, gadocartoons.com/female-genital-mutilation/. Accessed 13 Sept. 2017.

This political cartoon depicts FGM in a very negative way. This image is working to FGM because of the way it is portrayed. There is a puddle of blood, it’s black and white, and the blade is the main focus. All of these features contribute to cause of ending FGM because it provokes emotions and feelings in its audience.


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