Percent of women who do not intend to have any of their daughters undergo FGC

Percent of women who do not intend to have any of their daughters undergo FGC

Percent of women who do not intend to have any of their daughters undergo FGC

Among women surveyed, the percent that do not intend to have their daughters – either actual/living or potential/hypothetical – undergo any form of female genital cutting (FGC).

‘Intend’ is operationally defined as the percent of women who answer negatively to the question, “Do you intend to not have your daughter(s) undergo FGC?”  (Evaluators should use the locally adapted terminology for FGC.)

This indicator is calculated as:

(The number of women surveyed who state the intention not to have any of their daughters cut / Total number of women surveyed) x 100

Data Requirement(s):

Self-report from surveys in sample population. If researchers measure degree of intention using a five-point Likert scale, they must decide whether to combine “strong intent not to” with “some intent not to” to arrive at the total percentage not intending to continue the practice.  Data should be disaggregated by women’s age, region, ethnicity, religion, and parity.

Evaluators may also wish to collect data on if the woman surveyed is already the mother of a girl and, if yes, age of the child.

Surveys; focus group discussions; interviews

Where FGC is widely practiced, it is supported by both men and women, usually without question, and anyone departing from the norm may face condemnation, harassment, and ostracism. But in many societies, older women who have themselves been cut often perpetuate FGC, seeing it as essential to the identity and social standing of women and girls. This may be one reason why women, and more often older women, are more likely to support the practice, and tend to see efforts to combat it as an attack on their identity and culture (UNICEF, Innocenti Research Centre, 2008).

Since women are generally the gatekeepers of the practice, they also play a critical role in its elimination. Advocacy activities trying to create awareness, increase knowledge, and change attitudes are the cornerstone to FGC abandonment programs, particularly among young women, both as potential victims and key change agents. This indicator measures attitudinal shifts among women in the population of interest, which is an important step to behavior change.

Intention, as a step in the behavior change process, is “necessary but not sufficient” to predict with certainty behavior change. Because FGC is deeply rooted in tradition, even women who have no intention to continue the practice with their own daughters may be unable to act on their resolve because of strong social pressure to conform to the norms of their family or community.

Also, the measurement of this indicator relies on the willingness of women to truthfully admit their intentions, which may or may not be valid. In countries where FGC has been legally banned or in areas where there have been campaigns to reduce the practice, women may be reluctant to admit their intention to have their daughter(s) cut due to a perceived stigma associated with the practice (Bloom, 2008).

women’s status, female genital cutting (FGC), adolescent, violence

In every society in which it is practiced, FGC is a manifestation of gender inequality that is deeply entrenched in social, economic and political structures and represents society’s control over women (UNICEF, Innocenti Research Centre, 2008). Advocacy efforts, particularly among women’s groups, should focus on women’s empowerment. Addressing this through education and debate brings to the fore the human rights of girls and women and the differential treatment of boys and girls with regard to their roles in society in general, and specifically with respect to FGC. This can serve to influence gender relations and thus accelerate progress in abandonment of the practice (WHO et al, 2008).

UNICEF, Innocenti Research Centre, 2008. Platform for Action Towards the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). 2008. The Donors Working Group on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.

UNAIDS, UNDP, UNECA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCHR, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO.  2008.  Eliminating female genital mutilation: an interagency statement.

Bloom S.  “Violence Against Women and Girls: A Compendium of Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators.”  USAID, IGWG, and MEASURE Evaluation, 2008.

Related content

Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health

Social and Behavior Change Communication