Did you know that 21 per cent of women aged 15-49 have been circumcised? How about that more women aged 20 – 24 (28 per cent) compared to those aged 45 – 49 (17%) were circumcised when they were aged 5-9 years? Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation act 2011 banned this practice for Kenyan girls locally and abroad but that hasn’t succeeded in totally eliminating the ritual in Kenya. This is according to Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014 which is available on the open data portal.
1. What is Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting or female circumcision?
This is the practice of of cutting some parts of the clitoris or labia for non – therapeutic purposes usually as a part of a rite of passage into adolescence.
2. How is it done?
There are several ways this practice is carried out whereby some women are cut but no flesh is removed, cut with flesh removed and sewn closed.
|No flesh removed||2%|
3. Is it a tribal or Religious?
It is very tribal
The data points to some a strong ethnic association with the prevalence of FGM with majority of somali, samburu, Kisii and Maasai women being circumcised compared to less than 1 per cent of women in Luo and Luhya communities. It is very concerning that in Somali, Samburu, Kisii and Maasai communities at least 7 out of 10 women are circumcised.
It might be religious
Muslim women (51 per cent) are more likely to have been circumcised than women from other religious groups. Additionally, 2 out of 10 women who identify with the Roman Catholic church have undergone the cut. The data calls for a religion led fight against FGM that engages the church and mosque leaders in the muslim community to eradicate the vice.
4. At what age does it take place?
For women aged 15-49 circumcision takes place mostly within the 10-14 age bracket.
5. Who performs the circumcision?
Traditional agents perform the bulk of FGM compared to medical professionals. There’s a general trend where more medical professionals carry out FGM than before. This is informed by 20 per cent of girls aged 0-14 compared to 15% of girls aged 15-49 having had the procedure carried out by a medical professional.
6. Education is Key
Opinions on FGM change in both men and women with education with 40% of women and 43% of men with less than primary education feeling that it should be continued. This falls to 2% in women and 5% in men with more than secondary education feeling that it should continue. The data therefore shows a strong correlation to the level of education and thus the more educated an individual is, the less likely they are to feel that FGM should be continued.