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World Health Organization reports suggest that approximately 101 million girls under the age of ten have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Africa alone. FGM comes to the forefront as a direct violation of every woman’s basic human rights to a good, healthy, and painless existence, free form discrimination. Most studies focus on a medical approach to FGM. They show that the practice causes several serious diseases and fatal health risks through the use of unsterilized non-surgical instruments and environments, which lead to infertility, genital infections, psychological problems and, death. My research focuses on the less studied socio-legal aspects of FGM. I will present an up-to-date investigation on the association between current FGM laws and their relationship with political situations and cultural practices in Ethiopia, Egypt, Somalia and Sudan. For example, I will evaluate whether the laws of these countries meet international and domestic standards of Human Rights. In addition, I will briefly discuss reasons behind the failure to contain FGM, and will address ways to mitigate the menace of FGM through education and raising awareness of the issue. Our understanding of these issues is crucial since the scholarly literature shows that in countries that already have legal measures against the practice, societal pressure to conform is cited as the main reason for continuing the practice.

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Female circumcision; Human rights


Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Regional Sociology | Sociology of Culture

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Conference Proceeding

Female Genital Mutilation in Africa: A Socio-Legal Lens