A methodological contribution to measure the prevalence of female genital mutilation/cutting in Europe

Amalia Gómez-Casillas, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Antonio Lopez-Gay, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED), UAB
Montserrat Solsona-Pairó, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED), UAB

This study presents a methodological proposal to estimate the prevalence of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in the diaspora of 29 Sub-Saharan and Middle East countries where FGM/C is traditionally practiced. Previous studies have mainly used indirect methods to measure the prevalence of FGM/C in the diaspora countries because of the difficulties of measuring it through surveys or clinical records in this migration context. The results of studies conducted in European countries are not comparable due to the wide variety of approaches used to estimate the FGM/C prevalence. Estimating it is crucial to develop effective policies and actions, according to organizations such as the European Institute for Gender Equality. The aim of this study is to present a methodology based on a critical review of studies conducted in Europe. Our proposal consists of estimating the overall prevalence based on (i) the probabilities of FGM/C according to the characteristics of the woman’s background (ii) the design of scenarios of lowest, medium and highest prevalence of FGM/C. Census microdata grants us the possibility to assess the probabilities of FGM/C taking into account the following variables: country of birth and nationality of the woman, country of birth of her father and mother, cohort, age, year of migration and the level of education of the woman. The design of scenarios compensates one of the main drawbacks of the indirect method: the underlying hypothesis that female migration flows follow the country patterns concerning the prevalence of FGM/C and “generational transmission” of the practice. As a result, our methodology allows us to consider the complexity of FGM/C in the migration context and its impact on the overall prevalence of this practice. We then apply the proposed method to estimate FGM/C prevalence in Spain.

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Presented in Session 61: Sterility and reproductive impairments