Attitudes of Circumcised Women Towards Discontinuation of Genital Cutting of Their Daughters in Kenya

J Biosoc Sci. 2015 Jan;47(1):45-60. doi: 10.1017/S0021932014000248. Epub 2014 Jul 3.


Female genital cutting (FGC) is widely practised in Kenya. However, its prevalence has declined over the last two decades (38.0% in 1998 KDHS, 32.2% in 2003 KDHS and 27.1% in 2008-09 KDHS), implying changes in behaviours and attitudes of Kenyans towards FGC. This study provides an overview of changing attitudes of women towards FGC in Kenya. An extensive literature review was undertaken and 2008-09 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey data were used to focus on the present scenario. Analyses were based on a national sample of 2284 circumcised women. About 68% of these women wanted to discontinue FGC, and attitudes towards discontinuation were found to vary with women's background characteristics. Surprisingly, 92.5% of circumcised women of the North-Eastern province still wished to continue FGC, and for Muslims the percentage was 72.2%. About 36% of circumcised women responded that their daughters were already circumcised. Only 13% of circumcised mothers intended their daughters to be circumcised in the future. The study shows that the attitude of Kenyan women, irrespective of their circumcision status, has been changing gradually towards the discontinuation of circumcision of their daughters.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Circumcision, Female / psychology*
  • Circumcision, Female / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers* / psychology
  • Nuclear Family*
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Women's Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult