One key but unmet target for global policymakers is to end female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). Over 25 million (or two thirds) of Ethiopian women are thought to be cut, the second highest national number in Africa. Establishing how and why FGM/C persists in high-risk communities has proven difficult as being an illegal practice people may be inclined to misreport their views and experiences. Further, little is known of how FGM/C norms are socially transmitted between individuals and communities. By combining ethnographic, social network analyses and novel survey techniques, this project seeks to address the need for more accurate data on FGM/C beliefs and attitudes, and the transmission of social norms which underpin its acceptability among people in rural Ethiopia. It is expected that this work will reveal how FGM/C is socially maintained, thus potentially how it can be eliminated e.g. by identifying the key opinion leaders who could be targeted for anti-FGM/C campaigns in this and similar communities.
Research Team: Dr Mhairi Gibson, University of Bristol; Dr Eshetu Gurmu, University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Dr Alexandra Alvergne, University of Oxford