Female genital cutting in contemporary Eritrea: Consequences, future prospects and strategies for eradication

Gebremariam Woldemicael, University of Western Ontario

Despite its adverse health outcomes, female genital cutting (FGC) continues to be widespread in many African countries. Using data from the 2002 Eritrea Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) and the 2003 Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Household and Community Survey, we examine female genital cutting (FGC) in Eritrea. FGC is widely practiced in both rural and urban areas and among all ethnic and religious groups in Eritrea. There is little evidence that the practice will decline soon, particularly in rural areas and in regions where the most severe form (infibulation) is practiced. Women who have had infibulation were more likely to experience health complications than women who have had the less severe form of cutting (clitoridectomy or excision). Increased female educational attainments, household economic status, and urbanization would help lower support for the practice and hence its eradication. Community-based educational campaign publicizing the risks of FGC would also be helpful.

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Presented in Session 43: Gender based violence: prevalence and consequences