The risk of female genital cutting in Europe: Comparing immigrant attitudes toward uncut girls with attitudes in a practicing country

Vogt, Sonja; Efferson, Charles; Fehr, Ernst (2017). The risk of female genital cutting in Europe: Comparing immigrant attitudes toward uncut girls with attitudes in a practicing country. SSM - Population Health, 3, pp. 283-293. Elsevier 10.1016/j.ssmph.2017.02.002

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Worldwide, an estimated 200 million girls and women have been subjected to female genital cutting. Female genital cutting is defined as an intentional injury to the female genitalia without medical justification. The practice occurs in at least 29 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. In addition, globalization and migration have brought immigrants from countries where cutting is commonly practiced to countries where cutting is not traditionally practiced and may even be illegal. In countries receiving immigrants, governments and development agencies would like to know if girls with parents who immigrated from practicing countries are at risk of being cut. Risk assessments, for example, could help governments identify the need for programs promoting the abandonment of cutting among immigrants. Extrapolating from the prevalence and incidence rates in practicing countries, however, is generally not sufficient to guarantee a valid estimate of risk in immigrant populations. In particular, immigrants might differ from their counterparts in the country of origin in terms of attitudes toward female genital cutting. Attitudes can differ because migrants represent a special sample of people from the country of origin or because immigrants acculturate after arriving in a new country. To examine these possibilities, we used a fully anonymous, computerized task to elicit implicit attitudes toward female genital cutting among Sudanese immigrants living in Switzerland and Sudanese people in Sudan. Results show that Sudanese immigrants in Switzerland were significantly more positive about uncut girls than Sudanese in Sudan, and that selective migration out of Sudan likely contributed substantially to this difference. We conclude by suggesting how our method could potentially be coupled with recent efforts to refine extrapolation methods for estimating cutting risk among immigrant populations. More broadly, our results highlight the need to better understand how heterogeneous attitudes can affect the risk of cutting among immigrant communities and in countries of origin.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology

UniBE Contributor:

Vogt, Sonja Brigitte

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

ISSN:

2352-8273

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Simona Richard

Date Deposited:

06 Aug 2019 13:02

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 00:48

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.ssmph.2017.02.002

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.128478

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/128478

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