Australia addresses female genital mutilation. (Round Up: Law and Policy).
Article Type: Brief Article
Subject: Female circumcision (Prevention)
Female circumcision (Political aspects)
Pub Date: 05/01/2002
Publication: Name: Reproductive Health Matters Publisher: Reproductive Health Matters Audience: General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Family and marriage; Health; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2002 Reproductive Health Matters ISSN: 0968-8080
Issue: Date: May, 2002 Source Volume: 10 Source Issue: 19
Accession Number: 94126298
Full Text: Australia has a relatively small yet substantial number of migrants from countries in Africa where female genital mutilation (FGM) is practised. In 1995, federal and state governments in Australia funded the National Programme on Female Genital Mutilation with the aim of eliminating the practice. The two-pronged strategy includes the enforcement of special legislation banning the practice, and health promotion to raise awareness of its harmful effects while enhancing community development and community education. Even though the programme aims to represent the rights and interests of women who have undergone the procedure, women with FGM have complained that media programmes have led to their being stigmatised and portrayed as victims, and their privacy disregarded. The right of infibulated women to be reinfibulated after childbirth has also been a point of contention. This article says the Australian state may be acting in a patriarchal manner and creating a disempowering environment by seeking to represent the rights of women with FGM as if they are unable to represent themselves, due to their cultural backgrounds. A lack of critical reflection in the West, that condemns FGM but fails to consider comparable mutilating practices such as cosmetic surgery and body piercing, is also noted.

(1.) Allotey P, Manderson L, Grover S. The politics of female genital surgery in displaced communities. Critical Public Health 2001;11(3):189-202.
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.