A tradition in transition: factors perpetuating and hindering the continuance of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) summarized in a systematic review

Health Care Women Int. 2013 Oct;34(10):837-59. doi: 10.1080/07399332.2012.721417. Epub 2013 Mar 14.


Understanding the forces underpinning female genital mutilation/ cutting (FGM/C) is a necessary first step to prevent the continuation of a practice that is associated with health complications and human rights violations. To this end, a systematic review of 21 studies was conducted. Based on this review, the authors reveal six key factors that underpin FGM/C: cultural tradition, sexual morals, marriageability, religion, health benefits, and male sexual enjoyment. There were four key factors perceived to hinder FGM/C: health consequences, it is not a religious requirement, it is illegal, and the host society discourse rejects FGM/C. The results show that FGM/C appears to be a tradition in transition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Circumcision, Female / ethnology*
  • Circumcision, Female / trends*
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Religion
  • Women's Rights