Female Genital Cutting: Cultural, Religious, and Human Rights Dimensions of a Complex Development Issue
March 15, 2012
A common practice in many African and Middle Eastern communities, female genital cutting (FGC), also commonly referred to as female genital mutilation or female circumcision, outrages many outside observers. It is a prominent and polarizing flashpoint in debates that occur at the intersection of culture, religion, gender, development, and human rights. The FGC challenge pits international (and often national) human rights standards against rights to cultural identity, centralized and intellectual versus local and practical religious teachings and practice, and changing expectations about gender roles against realities of gender relationships as they are experienced at the family and community level.