Women’s Empowerment and Attitudinal Support for the Discontinuation of Female Genital Cutting in Ethiopia

Anastasia J. Gage, Tulane University
Ronan Van Rossem, Ghent University

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 100 million of women and girls have undergone female genital cutting (FGC). Although it is recognized that the practice is closely linked with women’s social position, little attention has been directed to examining the relationship between women’s empowerment and attitudinal support for the discontinuation of FGC. Using data from the 2005 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey, this paper examines how beliefs about women’s sexual empowerment and domestic violence and power dynamics in marital unions are intertwined with women’s attitudes toward the practice. Half of currently married women agreed that FGC should be discontinued. High levels of sexual empowerment increased rural women’s odds but were unrelated to urban women’s odds of supporting the discontinuation of FGC, after controlling for confounding factors. Self efficacy in sexual interactions and female-dominated decision making increased women’s odds of agreeing that FGC should be discontinued.

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Presented in Poster Session 4