Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Female Genital Cutting
Elizabeth Heger Boyle
Female genital cutting (FGC; also known as “female circumcision” or “female genital mutilation”) has sparked enormous debate because the issue lies at the crux of many other critical issues: globalization, sovereignty, women's and children's rights, democracy, and modernity. The precise origins of the practice, which dates back to antiquity, are unclear. FGC is deeply embedded in the culture of a number of eastern and central African nations and can be found in other parts of the world as well. The practice continues primarily because it is a tradition. At the turn of the millennium, FGC was practiced widely in 25 countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that more than 130 million women and girls have undergone some form of genital cutting worldwide. Since the 1970s, eradication efforts have been particularly intense. FGC is typically delineated into categories that vary by type of procedure. “Sunna” is most comparable to ...