Female genital cutting starts to decline among women in Oromia, Ethiopia
The practice of FGC is a complex tradition that cannot be addressed in isolation from its cultural environments. As the practice is limited to societies with pronouncedly patriarchal organization, its origins may be perceived as a means of enforcing the male’s superior role over his wife, ensuring her chastity. It is important, though, to consider FGC without criticisms and find ways to transform the harmful physical act of cutting into another symbolic act of initiation, should elimination efforts be successfully adopted by communities.
Providing women with alternative ways of defining their social identities and positions, proposing alternative rites of passage that retain the cultural aspects, for example conducting ceremonies at which it is announced that a girl has become a woman, will be beneficial.
Creating a positive culture with festivals has been found to be a particularly rewarding approach in other countries (Chelala, 1998; Chege et al., 2001). Enlisting the constant support of health professionals, educators, religious leaders, traditional birth attendants and circumcisers and supplying the latter with alternative livelihoods is also critical. Empowering women economically and providing them with health and human rights information will additionally contribute to altering their perspectives in ways that will contribute to and help sustain attitudinal and behavioural change.”
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