Date: Tue, 18 Mar 97 22:51:55 CST
From: rich@pencil (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Egyptian Women Support Female "Circumcision"
/** headlines: 153.0 **/
Egyptian women back circumcision
Excerpted from Daily Telegraph, 17 March 1997
6 Feb. 1997 (Daily Telegraph): EIGHT Egyptian women out of 10 consider female circumcision to be a good tradition, according to a study by the official National Population Council.
It shows...97 per cent of 14,779 married women aged between 15 and 49 polled had undergone the operation - a procedure which was banned last year in public hospitals by the Egyptian Health Ministry.
The clinical study of 1,399 women across Egypt also showed...in 64 per cent of the women who underwent a physical examination, the operation had involved a partial or total excision of the clitoris and the labia minora. In 18.7 per cent of the cases there was a partial or total excision of the clitoris only, in 7.8 per cent of the cases there was a partial or total excision of the labia minora only, and in 9.4 per cent the labia majora was removed.
Only one per cent of women were reported to have undergone the most severe form of female circumcision, known as pharaonic circumcision, during which the clitoris, labia minora and majora are excised and the two sides of the wound are sewn together.
The "demographic and health survey study 1995" is carried out every three years by the national population council of the health ministry. ...the latest survey was the first to include a section devoted to female circumcision. Eighty-two per cent of women said they supported the operation, 13 per cent were opposed to it and five per cent had no opinion.
Of those in favour, 53 per cent, described it as a "good tradition", 36.1 per cent linked it to "cleanliness" and 30.6 per cent said it was a religious issue. Only 9.1 per cent said it "preserved virginity" and 8.9 per cent believed...it helped "better marriage prospects", 5.6 per cent said it prevented adultery and 3.8 per cent said it afforded husbands"greater pleasure".
Of those opposed to the practice, 45.7 per cent said it caused"medical complications", 37.8 per cent said it was a "bad tradition" and 29.8 per cent dismissed it as a violation of religion. Other reasons given for opposing female circumcision were pain, cited by 27.3 per cent of those against, "because it prevents sexual satisfaction" was a factor mentioned by 19.6 per cent, and 12.1 per cent said...the operation was "against women's dignity".
Most of the women supporters of female circumcision (93.1 per cent) had no school education. Among mothers, nine out of 10 said they had circumcised their daughters or planned to do so - 10 was given as the average age for the operation.
The study said: "More than three-fifths of circumcised women were seven to 10 years of age at the time of the procedure and only 13 per cent were six years of age or younger." For 68 per cent of mothers the operation had been carried out by a midwife or a barber while 54.8 per cent of the daughters had been operated on by doctors or nurses.
The study also showed...89.3 per cent of mothers and 67.3 per cent of their daughters had been circumcised at home. For two-thirds of the mothers, the report said, "a blade or a razor blade was used in the procedure and a similar percentage said...they underwent the operation without any anaesthetic".
The report said: "In the case of their daughters, women were more likely to report the use of a scalpel during the circumcision, and only 25 per cent of daughters' circumcisions were performed without anaesthetic."