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FGM in Kenya: Is change taking place?

Access to new resource related to solving global human and social problems added to PMWL


Resource provided by Daisy Ogutu

22 March 2020 – Kisumu, Kenya – Access to a new resource has been added to the PM World Library (PMWL) related to solving global human and social problems. The new resource is titled Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Kenya: Is change taking place? by Bettina Shell-Duncan, David Gathara and Zhuzhi Moore in 2017.

According to the report, there has been a steady decline in rates of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) from the early 1980’s. Data shows that a majority of both women and men are now opposed to the continuation of FGM/C. Kenya has experienced a long history of activism aimed at encouraging abandonment of the practice. Although FGM had been viewed as a symbol of cultural loyalty and defiance against European colonialism, it no longer had the same significance once Kenyan independence was attained in 1963. In the 1970s-1980s (UN Decade for women) there was a global campaign to eliminate FGM. The Kenyan president called for an end to the practice though this ban carried no legal weight and was interpreted by some to be a measure to appease Western people.

The different types of “cuttings” (Type I-IV) are discussed in detail in the report. There have been different trends over time including younger age cutting and increased medicalization. A large number of women who have undergone FGM had the flesh removed but report not having been sewn closed with only 9% reporting being sewn closed.  The vast majority of women report having been cut by a traditional practitioner.  70% of women who are cut are between age 5-14. The practice is more likely to be done in rural setups than in urban areas. Religion, household, wealth, education and ethnical background are some of the determinants of FGM/C.

To access this new resource, go to the solving global human and social problems section of the library at on gender equality/women’s rights, scroll down to resource. Free access, but please consider registering for the Free Trial Membership

This new resource provided through the PMWL university research internship program; to learn more, click here