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Obstetrics and Gynecology International
Volume 2013, Article ID 643780, 11 pages
Research Article

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: The Secret World of Women as Seen by Men

1Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Belatterra 08193, Spain
2Interdisciplinary Group for the Prevention and Study of Harmful Traditional Practices (IGPS/HTP), Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Belatterra 08193, Spain
3NGO Wassu Gambia Kafo, Fajara F Section, Banjul, Gambia
4School for Enrolled Community Health Nurses and Midwives, Mansakonko, Gambia
5Group for Research in Africa and Latin America, Biostatistics Department, School of Medicine, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Belatterra 08193, Spain

Received 29 March 2013; Revised 27 May 2013; Accepted 16 June 2013

Academic Editor: Johanne Sundby

Copyright © 2013 Adriana Kaplan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Efforts aimed at the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in the communities where it is deeply rooted have extensively considered and addressed women’s perceptions on the issue, leaving those of men barely acknowledged. Although the practice is generally confined to the secret world of women, it does not mean that men cannot be influential. Indeed, men can play an important role in prevention. In order to address this gap, and having as background an extensive ethnographic field work, a transversal descriptive study was designed to explore Gambian men’s knowledge and attitudes towards FGM/C, as well as related practices in their family/household. Results show ethnic identity, more than religion, as the decisive shaping factor on how men conceive and value FGM/C. The greater support towards the practice is found among traditionally practicing groups. A substantial proportion of men intend to have it performed on their daughters, although reporting a low involvement in the decision making process, with very few taking alone the final decision. Only a minority is aware of FGM/C health consequences, but those who understand its negative impact on the health and well-being of girls and women are quite willing to play a role in its prevention.