Study Reviews Nigerian Practice of Removing Female Genitalia

A study looks at the history of the removal of female genitals in Nigeria.  The practice was eliminated during the mid-1990s but there still remains an investigation as to how things have changed since the elimination. Specialists who are knowledgeable on this subject matter met with a group of females to learn what steps are being taken to prevent the practice.

Over 400 women between the ages of 15 and 49 were asked to take part in an in-depth discussion about the practice.  Most people claimed to be familiar with health hazards related to the practice but some still continue to have it performed on their daughters.  Many who are considered highly educated claim they wouldn’t allow their daughter to experience such a loss.  The act itself is considered a human rights violation against females internationally.  It has been reported that over 90 million females in Africa have had the procedure performed on them, yet other parts of the world, depending on cultural beliefs may still carry out the act.

The study took place in southwestern Nigeria with the area featuring historical significance with different ethnic groups.  In this particular area there are 3 main groups including Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa/Fulani.  The field work for the study lasted one year and included 12 interviews with 3 supervisors completing workshops that lasted 10 days.  The workshops help them conduct extensive research on their subject topics.  This helped researchers get answers to questions from a survey that was presented to the women.  The discussion groups were broken into smaller groups with women randomly chosen throughout 7 states in Nigeria. Many of the women who participated had at least one surviving daughter in the household.

Researchers have learned that the practice of removing female genitalia is practiced in all southwestern state areas in Nigeria.  It is supposedly performed to help women suppress the need for sex and prepare them for marriage life.  Women who participated in the study were asked if they themselves or their daughter have had their genitals removed.  Most mothers claim they have had their genitals removed and their daughters as well.  About 85 percent claim they approve of the act being done on themselves and their daughters.  A few were unsure if the practice should continue and a few others disapprove of it all together.

Reasons behind why women approve of the act includes the clitoris of a female will regrow as the girl gets older, to keep virginity until she is old enough to have sex or they believe the clitoris can cause death during delivery. In short, researchers feel women need to be educated further on the aspects of a woman’s genitals.  Many feel that because it is tradition there is nothing they can do to stop it from happening.  Some women believe a woman’s genitalia should be removed and when it is not it’s not a good sight.  Different aspects researchers feel that can be helpful for the women to understand are not being taught or shared effectively.  Health risks and how female gentiles are not a dangerous body organ are things women continue to lack in understanding overall.