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The association between economic development, education and FGM in six selected African countries
Authors: Ramu Rawat
Source: African Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health, 1(3): 137–146; DOI:
Topic(s): Economics
Female genital cutting (FGC)
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: JUL 2017
Abstract: Background: The practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is highly prevalent in countries in African and the Middle East and is present at all levels of society, due to beliefs that it ensures girls' purification for their marriage. Objective: To examine the effect of education and economic development on FGM by selected co-variants. Methods: Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) (2010–13) data sets were used. The data used were from six selected African countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone and Somalia. Findings: The prevalence of FGM was significantly higher in Somalia (98.6%), Guinea (97.8%) and Mali (92.6%) in comparison with other selected countries. The results showed that education was statistically significant (168.34; P<0.001) in changing the percentage of FGM practices in the selected countries. The economic status of women was directly associated with mutilation practices, with FGM less likely to be found among higher educated women. Conclusions: In these countries, various programmes are run by the government, which have not affected FGM practices, as community beliefs are often stronger than a government programme. It may take a long time for significant decline of FGM, but increasing women's education level may lead to an immediate reduction in prevalence. Keywords: Education, economic development, FGM, women, girls