Female Genital Mutilation and Education

Over 100 million circumcisions have already been performed in Africa alone. In Kenya, 40% of girls and women still undergo Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), even though it is now illegal. In rural areas, it is a rite of passage for a maturing girl. FGM is intertwined with the issues of forced marriage to older men, early pregnancies and girls leaving school. It is often a prerequisite for teenage brides, whose families hope to win a large dowry from the bridegroom. FGM leads to serious health consequences, physical and psychological trauma and sometimes death.


Human Rights Watch. (2010) Questions and Answers about Female Genital Mutilation.

Themes: definitions, types, where practiced, cultural justifications, role of religion, international and national legal frameworks, consequences, strategies

Summary: This article answers common questions about female genital mutilation in the world today. 

World Health Organization: (2014) Female Genital Mutilation.

Themes: definition, procedures, no health benefits, risk, cultural, religious and social causes, international and WHO response

Summary: More than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and Middle East where FGM is concentrated. FGM is carried out mainly on girls between infancy and 15. The procedures cause short term and long term health effects, force young girls into marriage. FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

Summary: This video discusses a partnership between an NGO (AMREF) and Maasai  community, elders in Shomole, Kenya, to develop an alternative rite of passage for young girls at puberty girls, to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation. Traditionally, once a girl has been cut, she passes into womanhood and leaves school to be married to a man many years her senior. Today many more females go to high-school, without FGM, with better futures for themselves and their families.

Summary: Africa Schools of Kenya (ASK) is actively working to end female circumcision. The Kenyan Maasai of Esiteti are one of the last indigenous tribes to practice (FGM). In 2012, the elders requested an NGO (ASK) to help develop an Alternative Rite of Passage and the result was the first 52 girls who were able to say no to FGM.


Website: J Golden

Research Asst: H Sadkowski

& P Haastrup

Site Design: W Cudlip

Photos: J Golden, Ryerson University

& N Cole 


Professor Jean Golden Ryerson University

Email: JGolden@arts.ryerson.ca

Site Designer: Walt Cudlip

Email: waltcudlip@gmail.com


error: Content is protected !!