Publications Summary

Document Type
Working Papers
Publication Topic(s)
Female Genital Cutting
Recommended Citation
Ibrahim, Fazeela, Ibrahim Asma Sulaiman, and Ahmed Amzath. 2022. Harmful Cultural Traditions: An Analysis of Female Circumcision Practice in Maldives. DHS Working Paper No. 187. Rockville, Maryland, USA: ICF.
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Publication Date
September 2022
Publication ID


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Female circumcision affects the lives of millions of girls and women worldwide. This study assessed the demographic and socioeconomic factors associated with the occurrence of female circumcision among women age 15–49 in Maldives. Based on data from the 2016–17 Maldives Demographic and Health Survey, this study used bivariate and logistic regression analyses to examine the characteristics associated with the occurrence of female circumcision. Among all respondents, 17% of the 5,943 women who have heard of female circumcision reported having undergone the procedure. The findings revealed that there is a significant difference in female circumcision by age, education, occupation, and attitudes towards female circumcision. Furthermore, most circumcisions occurred before age 5, and were highest in Malé and the South and North regions. The variables related to opinions were most strongly associated with female circumcision. Compared to women who did not hold these opinions, women who believed that female circumcision is required by their religion or that the practice of female circumcision should continue had more than twice the odds of being circumcised. In addition, crosstabulations of the opinion variables with age and region have found that the highest proportion of women who held these beliefs were age 25–39 and lived in Malé. Therefore, we recommend further research and encouragement to enact policies and legislation that would eliminate the practice of female circumcision in Maldives.


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