Female circumcision: persistence amid conflict

Health Care Women Int. Nov-Dec 1998;19(6):477-9. doi: 10.1080/073993398246043.


PIP: The continuing practice of female circumcision (removal of varying degrees of external genitalia) was perhaps the most emotional issue discussed at the Ninth International Congress on Women's Health Issues, held in June in Alexandria, Egypt. The results of two studies presented at the Congress have resulted to an argument. Others view female circumcision as a traditional folk practice, similar to scarring of the skin or elongation of the lips among certain African tribes and should not be subjected to "cultural imperialism" from abroad. Instead, the procedure could best be eradicated through focused education--telling patients that it is not required by Islam and that it can be detrimental to health. However, this suggestion was hotly debated by members of the audience who insisted that female circumcision should be considered as a form of child abuse and thus properly addressed as a political issue.

Publication types

  • Congress

MeSH terms

  • Circumcision, Female / adverse effects*
  • Circumcision, Female / ethnology*
  • Circumcision, Female / psychology
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Egypt
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Women's Health*