Mother, Daughter, Doctor: Medical Professionals and Mothers’ Decision-Making about FGM/C in Egypt

Maia Sieverding, University of California, San Francisco
Sepideh Modrek, Stanford University

Declining rates of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) have been associated with the medicalization of the practice in Egypt and a number of other countries. However, few studies have examined the role of medical professionals in perpetuating or discouraging the practice. We present data from a survey of 410 mothers in the greater Cairo area that addressed their decision-making regarding the FGM/C of their daughters. Follow-up in-depth interviews were conducted with 29 respondents. A third of mothers reported consulting a medical professional in deciding whether or not to submit their daughters to FGM/C. Demand for this consultation is created by the perception that FGM/C is medically recommended for some girls; high levels of trust in the advice of doctors results in substantial accordance between the doctor’s recommendation and practice. These findings suggest that greater sensitization of medical professionals, not only illegalization, is necessary in order to further reduce rates of FGM/C.

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Presented in Session 59: Female Genital Mutilation