Introduction and conceptual chapter
Senegal: Ourey Sall (on the left) and her assistant, during a public declaration ceremony, UNICEF/2004
Over the past decade, significant progress has been made in understanding the factors that perpetuate female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and other harmful practices, as well as the processes that encourage their abandonment.
UNICEF IRC has develop a study to analyze the nature and implications of social norms and how they promote or limit the well-being of children and the realization of their rights.
The study looks at highly promising approaches being used to support social change (around FGM) and how these strategies are being implemented in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and Sudan.
In these countries FGM/C and other harmful practices have been widely performed for centuries, yet programme interventions in recent years have had success in promoting abandonment of such practices. The study provides enough evidence that the social dynamics surrounding FGM/C are complex, intergenerational and deeply embedded, as well as that intervention approaches that take these social dynamics into account and work with them show good (and often immensely good) effects on communities' declared intention to abandon FGM/C.
However, data is not readily accessible on actual changes in behaviour, but the available evidence indicates that behaviour change in terms of abandoning the practice of FGM/C, including its surrounding norms, is much less than people's declared intention to abandon.
The following bibliography offers an overview of some of the main resources that IRC has collected during the preparation of the Multicountry study on FGM/C.
- Bicchieri, Cristina, The Grammar of Society: The nature and dynamics of social norms, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2006.
- Merry, Sally Engle, Human Rights & Gender Violence: Translating international law into local justice, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2006.
- Gillespie, Diane and Molly Melching, 'The Transformative Power of Democracy and Human Rights Nonformal Education: The case of Tostan', Adult Education Quarterly, March 26, 2010.
- Gruenbaum, Ellen,The Female Circumcision Controversy: An anthropological perspective, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2001.
- Mackie, Gerry,Ending Footbinding and Infibulation: A convention account, American Sociological Review, vol. 61, no. 6, December 1996.
Mackie, Gerry and John LeJeune, Social Dynamics of Abandonment of Harmful Practices: A new look at the theory. Innocenti Working Paper 2009-06, Special Series on Social Norms and Harmful Practices, UNICEF Innocenti Research Center, Florence, May 2009
United Nations Children's Fund, Changing a Harmful Social Convention: Female genital mutilation/cutting, Innocenti Digest, UNICEF Innocenti Research Center, Florence, 2005.
United Nations Children's Fund, Technical Note: Coordinated strategy to abandon female genital mutilation/cutting in one generation, UNICEF, New York, 2007.
- United Nations Children's Fund,Progress for Children: A report card on child protection, Number 8, UNICEF, New York, September 2009.
United Nations, Promotion and protection of the rights of children, The Girl Child, Report of the Secretary-General, A/64/315, United Nations, 21 August 2009, articles 63-64, p. 16-17.
- World Health Organization, Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation: An interagency statement,OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNECA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO, WHO, Geneva, 2008.
World Health Organization,Global strategy to stop health-care providers from performing female genital mutilation UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO,FIGO, ICN, IOM, MWIA, WCPT,WMA, Geneva, 2010
- Documentation of the FGM Free Village Model Project, Population Council West and North Africa Office, Cairo, Egypt, 3 June 2008.
Yoder, P. Stanley, Noureddine Abderrahim,and Arlinda Zhuzhuni,Female Genital Cutting in the Demographic Health Surveys: A critical and comparative analysis, DHS Comparative Reports no 7, ORC Macro, Calverton, Maryland, 2004, pp. 43-44.
- UNICEF and UNFPA, The end is in sight: moving towards the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting, Annual Report 2009, UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme on female genital mutilation/cutting, 2010.