Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the Central African Republic: A demographic perspective

José Antonio Ortega, Universidad de Salamanca, Spain

Female Genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a harmful practice for women's health and rights whose eradication forms part of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is still prevalent in some countries of Africa including the Central African Republic (CAR). There are important differences in the prevalence and timing of the practice according to geographic, ethnic and socioeconomic lines. While trends by cohort have been somewhat explored, this is the first application of period demographic analysis to the evaluation of trends in the incidence and age at FGM/C. This is particularly relevant in CAR where FGM/C is performed at an older age around puberty, with worse health consequences, and where the ongoing conflict intensified since 2013. Based on MICS 2018-19, trends in FGM/C since 1990 are explored. Period rates are reconstructed from reporting by women 15-49 regarding their own age at FGM/C and that of their daughters 0-14. It is found that the prevalence of FGM/C has been declining, especially after the conflict exacerbated. While a decline is observed in all groups, large differences persist according to geography, ethnicity, religion or place of residence. In the recent period a trend towards an even later age at FGM/C is observed probably due to postponement in the conflict situation.

Keywords: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Gender, Demographic and social surveys, Culture, ethnicity, race, religion and language

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 8. Sexual and Reproductive Health of Adolescents and Youth in sub-Saharan Africa