Article

Female Genital Mutilation

Fariyal Ross-Sheriff and Evalyne Kerubo Orwenyo

in Encyclopedia of Social Work

Published by NASW Press and Oxford University Press


Published online August 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199975839 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.013.928

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Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been portrayed in the literature as an inhumane practice and a form of human rights abuse. Young women and girls who undergo FGM are subjected to the risk of developing infections as well as gynecological and psychological complications. Where severe bleeding occurs, the risk of death is imminent. Although FGM has been decried as an unnecessary and harmful ritual, it continues to be practiced in many parts of Africa, some parts of Asia, and the Middle East. Beliefs about the benefits of FGM are deeply entrenched in tradition and culture, making it a difficult practice to eradicate. This entry aims to portray the cultural embeddedness of FGM as the main factor in preventing its eradication. The information reviewed in this entry can be used to provide a framework for social workers to understand personal and societal reasons for FGM. Furthermore, this entry provides information that could be used to guide social workers in formulating culturally appropriate interventions with FGM practicing communities.

Keywords: Female genital mutilation; female circumcision; rite of passage; cultural practices

Article.  5746 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality ; International and Global Issues in Social Work

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