Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Female Genital Mutilation: Conditions of Decline

John C. Caldwell, I. O. Orubuloye and Pat Caldwell
Population Research and Policy Review
Vol. 19, No. 3 (Jun., 2000), pp. 233-254
Published by: Springer in cooperation with the Southern Demographic Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40230269
Page Count: 22
  • Download ($43.95)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Female Genital Mutilation: Conditions of Decline
Preview not available

Abstract

Female genital mutilation (or female circumcision) has been experienced by over 100 million women in sub-Saharan Africa and the Nile valley. Efforts to suppress the practice were made in the earlier decades of the present century, especially by missionaries in Kenya in the 1920s and early 1930s. Successful indigenous opposition to this activity led to a cultural relativist attitude toward FGM being dominant among governments and international bodies for the next half century. This situation has changed over the last 20 years as the women's movement has led an attack on the practice, so that by the mid-1990s all relevant major international bodies and governments without exception had committed themselves to its suppression. Nevertheless, efforts to counter FGM have often been weak and there has been little evidence of their success. This paper draws on a continuing research program among the Yoruba people of southwest Nigeria to show not only that FGM has begun to decline but that this occurrence can be explained wholly by programs organized by the Ministry of Health and women's organizations. The focus of this paper is on the determinants of this change. These are shown to be: (1) a reduction in ceremonies associated with the practice, (2) its increasing medicalization, (3) indigenous secular campaigning based on the provision of information, and (4) a focus on individuals, especially women. There is little belief that the campaign is an assault on the culture, but rather a growing feeling, especially among those influenced by it, that it would be more appropriate once such a campaign has begun for it to be whole-hearted rather than lukewarm.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
233
    233
  • Thumbnail: Page 
234
    234
  • Thumbnail: Page 
235
    235
  • Thumbnail: Page 
236
    236
  • Thumbnail: Page 
237
    237
  • Thumbnail: Page 
238
    238
  • Thumbnail: Page 
239
    239
  • Thumbnail: Page 
240
    240
  • Thumbnail: Page 
241
    241
  • Thumbnail: Page 
242
    242
  • Thumbnail: Page 
243
    243
  • Thumbnail: Page 
244
    244
  • Thumbnail: Page 
245
    245
  • Thumbnail: Page 
246
    246
  • Thumbnail: Page 
247
    247
  • Thumbnail: Page 
248
    248
  • Thumbnail: Page 
249
    249
  • Thumbnail: Page 
250
    250
  • Thumbnail: Page 
251
    251
  • Thumbnail: Page 
252
    252
  • Thumbnail: Page 
253
    253
  • Thumbnail: Page 
254
    254