Is There Another Viewpoint? Discourse on Female Genital Mutilation

Updated: Oct 11, 2018

WIL strives to educate our members and the public about cultural differences in the developing world as it affects women. This program is a point of view that WIL does not support within the framework of women's empowerment.


September 26, 2018 If you mention female genital circumcision to most American women, the reaction usually is revulsion and fury. But many African women have a very different perspective. Dr. Fumbai Sia Ahmadu, an African-born medical anthropologist, heads a global grassroots movement that takes issue with what she believes is a misinformed and distorted American point of view. Having personally participated (willingly) in the circumcision ritual, she believes the Americans have a biased misunderstanding of what she sees as an important African cultural more. Rather than mutilate women, she claims, this coming of age ritual is a deeply bonding tribal experience that has been co-opted by people who use it to make money from American protest groups.


ABOUT DR. FUAMBAI SIA AHMADU As a medical and symoblic anthropologist, Dr. Ahmadu has recently worked as senior research scholar under a Wenner Gren Fellowship and health advisor at the Office of the Vice President in Freetown, Sierra Leone. She worked for several years as a lead consultant for UNICEF in The Gambia and a principal investigator at the UK's Medical Research Council Laboratories also in The Gambia. In the U.S., Dr. Ahmadu has worked at the Child Development Branch as well as the Office of Global Health Research and International Activities of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at NIH. Dr. Ahmadu completed her PhD. in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics and was awarded a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) post-doctoral training fellowship at the Department of Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago.


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