Changing long-standing cultural practices—even when such practices are harmful—is difficult, but the impressive success in reducing the acceptability and incidence of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in several settings shows it is possible. Research by FRONTIERS in Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, and Senegal has provided insight into the sociocultural and religious underpinnings of FGM/C and has identified approaches that, over time, have contributed to individual and community decisions to abandon the practice. This information can help reduce the risk of undergoing FGM/C faced by three million girls and women every year. This is one of eight Legacy Papers synthesizing major lessons learned in research conducted under the FRONTIERS in Reproductive Health Program. The full set of Legacy Papers includes: Capacity Building, Family Planning, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, Gender, Integration of Services, Sustainability of Services, Utilization of Research Findings, and Youth Reproductive Health.
"Female genital mutilation/cutting: Change is possible," FRONTIERS Legacy Themes. Washington, DC: Population Council, 2009.
Frontiers in Reproductive Health