Beyond a Tradition - FGC As A Social Pressure in Djibouti

Jessica Zavala

Female Genital Cutting (FGC) has been an ongoing practice that has severe health implications for girls and women. This practice is a tradition of many cultures with a number of purposes, including conserving virginity, becoming more attractive, and mainly, to be accepted in their communities. Thus, there is a social pressure on families to continue this tradition. It is estimated that 200 million girls alive today have been cut, specifically in regions of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East where FGC is most prevalent, and the number will continue growing if FGC does not end. In this paper, I will be focusing on Djibouti, an African country, where the rate of FGC is above 90%. Despite numerous efforts to stop this procedure, the prevalence is still high. Thus, I argue that this is more than just a tradition. It is a sociocultural pressure that leads to a chain of harmful consequences for women. Families feel pressured to follow FGC in order for girls to be accepted in their communities and be able to get married. Additionally, I will be reviewing both short and long-term health consequences that girls who have undergone FGC face and put their well being at risk. Female genital mutilation is not only a form of gender discrimination, but also a violation of human, women, and children’s rights. Women also find themselves in an economic burden due to the costs of medical care needed to treat the health consequences caused by FGC.


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