Topic: Violence and abuse

Negotiating Female Genital Cutting in a transnational context

Johansen, R. E. B., & Ahmed, S. A. E. (2021). Negotiating Female Genital Cutting in a transnational context. Qualitative Health Research, 31(3), 458-471. doi:: 10.1177/1049732320979183

In this article, we explore migrant Somali and Sudanese women’s reflections and decision-making regarding female genital cutting in a transnational context wherein women are compelled to maneuver between contradictory social norms.

These include traditional norms, which consider the practice to be associated with socially acceptable sexuality and reproduction, and international norms, which consider the practice to be a violation of sexual and reproductive rights.

Our analysis builds on data from in-depth interviews with 23 women of Somali and Sudanese origin residing in Norway. Informed by three central theories of change, we categorize women along a continuum of readiness to change ranging from rebellious women eagerly pursuing the abandonment of female genital cutting and adopting international norms regarding the practice, to women supporting the practice and its traditional meanings. Ambivalent contemplators were placed in the middle of the continuum. Women’s positioning was further interlinked with social networks and perceived decision-making power.