Breaking the FGM Cycle in Nigeria
Aparna Jain, Population Council
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is widespread in Nigeria, despite efforts to reduce deep-rooted social and traditional norms that uphold its practice. Using the 2013 Nigeria DHS couple data, we employed multilevel mixed logistic models to assess couple attitudinal agreement/discordance for/against FGM on the probability that at least one daughter was circumcised. Results showed that mothers who believed FGM should end, even if their husbands believed it should continue, were 77% less likely to circumcise their daughters (95% CI: 0.16-0.33). This relationship held among FGM (OR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.15-0.37) and non-FGM mothers (OR: 0.29; 95% CI: 0.08-0.29). When stratifying by region, this association was lost in NW, NC, and SE, where there was no association in circumcised daughters and couple FGM attitudes. Results suggest that while FGM is a normative practice in some regions, changing FGM attitudes of mothers are critical in breaking the cycle of FGM in subsequent generations.