Final Research Paper

Diamond Martinez

CULF 3331

Professor Micklethwait

5 December 2014

Female Genital Mutilation

            During the semester, I read multiple news articles and documents on women’s rights in Egypt. During the research process, I came across multiple articles discussing the issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Egypt. It was then that I turned my research to FGM but also focus on how it is a violation of women’s rights. Over 90% of women in Egypt have been victims of female circumcision ( Women’s rights have been an issue in almost every country not just Egypt. In order to make improvements for women, there are other areas that need attention such as why men superior. The root of the problem needs to be addressed before women’s rights can be improved in Egypt.

Sexism is extremely rooted in Egypt. Men have always been dominant and because of this, sexual assault is common in most relationships and marriages.  The article, Egypt’s Deep-Seated Culture of Sexism ( reports on how men in Egypt believe that they are superior to women because the Quran implies that God has given men the right to command women. This is a religious belief that is strongly practiced throughout Egypt and it is evident that gender decides how others treat you. Due to sexism, women undergo harassment and the numbers of women that hold seats in the government are extremely low. Sexual harassment is a huge problem that continues to occur. In June 2014, President Adly Mansour approved of a law that set out five-year sentences for sexual harassment. However, in order for the person to be arrested, the women must call the police to notify them of the situation. Unfortunately, it is known that when a woman reports her husband for abuse, the police will call the husband and have her taken home. No punishments are given and police do not take the women serious. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women reported in 2013 that 99.3% of women in Egypt have experienced some form of sexual harassment. (

Female Genital mutilation was criminalized in 2008 but continues to occur. FGM has three different types, type one, two, and three. Type two, which is the removal of the prepuce and clitoral all together, is most common. Type three is the most dangerous and destructive and involves the removal of part or all of external genitalia and narrowing of the vaginal opening. It is rare that type three is performed.  In the past, dayas or midwives with no medical degree conducted the procedure at a home. However before it was outlawed, licensed doctors performed FGM in hospitals and clinics. Although banned, doctors continued practicing FGM in private homes or clinics. Older women who were victims of FGM were given no anesthetic for the pain. However, the older women stated that an anesthetic was given to daughters to help avoid any infections. (

Suhair was a 13-year-old girl who did not survive the FGM procedure. Her father took her to Dr. Halawa clinic to have the procedure done. Suhair died shortly after the completion of the procedure. Halawa claims he was seeing Suhair for genital wart treatment and did not perform FGM. He stated she passed away from having an allergic reaction to penicillin that was not prescribed by him.  Individuals indicated that Halawa’s clinic was well known for FGM and at least twelve procedures were completed daily. Currently, doctors perform 70% of FGM procedures in Egypt, which is considered safer. However, doctors are not taught how to perform FGM in medical school and it can be assumed that many more young girls are dying from the side effects. The number of girls who have died due to FGM is unknown because the deaths are recorded as hemorrhages or allergic reactions to penicillin. Dr. Hulawa and Suhair’s father were sent to trial. It is the first case of FGM that has been sent to trial and opponents hope that this will be the beginning of stopping FGM completely (

If carried out successfully, Female genital mutilation can lead to additional complications for the women during childbirth. Because the vaginal opening is closed and only a small slit, the size of a matchstick is left open, childbirth can be extremely painful. Women have died from bleeding to death because of FGM. (

Women’s rights are not only an issue in Egypt. Although other countries, such as the United States offer laws to protect women, there are still issues that need to be addressed.   Chapter eleven in Controversies of Globalization talks about whether the United States should promote women’s rights in developing nations and whether or not women’s rights are important. It states that millions of young girls are not enrolled in school because they are expected to take care of the home. Women’s equality is necessary for the development of the economy as well as reducing the population growth. With that being said, it is necessary for the women in Egypt to have their rights protected by better laws. Considering that sexism is popular in Egypt, it will be harder to enforce such laws for women. Religion plays a huge role in how the men treat women and in order to come around those beliefs one must be open minded. For example, the United States claims that both women and men have equal rights, but there are facts that disprove that. Just like Egypt, there are high numbers of sexual harassment in America but law enforcement is known to help the victim despite gender. Western countries are known to have better rights for women than eastern countries.

Education plays a huge part in women’s rights. A large percentage of mothers that make their daughters undergo FGM have little to no education. Educating women is not seen as necessary in Egypt. The typical woman is responsible for taking care of the household such as cooking, cleaning and taking care of her husband and children. It important to recognize that an uneducated person cannot does not have all the information or resources to make an educated decision. Chapter eleven also mentions that it is necessary for women to be educated to make proper decisions in important topics such as family-planning. This ties into FGM in Egypt. A study has proven that uneducated women are more likely to have their daughters undergo the procedure.  Not only is FGM banned in Egypt but it is also a risky procedure that causes both bodily and emotional harm to women. Education can be the answer for helping out a stop to FGM. The more that women are educated may help decrease the amount of young girls being circumcised in Egypt. (

Women’s rights were a popular topic during the Arab Spring. During the 2011 uprisings, a study was conducted that found Egypt to be the worst out of twenty-two countries for women’s rights.  Mohamed Mursi, President of Egypt during the uprisings, claimed that the most important thing for a woman to do is bear children and be a mother. The Muslim Brotherhood claimed that women would destroy society if they were allowed to make their own decisions. The Arab Spring Uprising was an ongoing battle for women’s rights. After Mursi was removed as president, slight improvements were made for women’s rights. Women were not afraid to share their opinions during the uprisings. It was a time period where the women knew it was time to stand up and fight for change. This was not an easy step for women; many of them were sexually assaulted by police officers when they protested against military rule. (

After researching FGM and women’s rights in Egypt, I have a better understanding of women and society in the Middle East.  I do believe that education is necessary for women to make proper choices not only for themselves but their families as well. Also, educating the male population that women could in fact help society rather than destroy it could help with the issues Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries are facing. It is important for the government and law enforcement to enforce the laws that are in place. A law is useless if officials do not enforce it properly. Punishments need to be given to those who violate the laws. Overall, Egypt is deeply rooted in sexism and it is going to take a lot of effort to make noticeable changes for women’s rights. Since religion plays a major part in how women are treated, I think the issue of gender inequality and women’s rights will remain for many years to come.

Week 10

This week I read another two articles that discussed Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The first one was Egypt: Report on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or Female Genital Cutting. This one explains the three different forms of FGM. It goes into detail about what each form is like. Type 3 is worst and most dangerous. It involves the removal of all the clitoris. The procedure leaves the woman with a small slit, the size of a matchstick, where urine and menstrual blood may come through. Many women die during childbirth from complications. The second article I read was in Cosmopolitan magazine. It was called 3 Survivors Reveal the Brutal Reality of Female Genital Mutilation. The article consisted of three stories from women who went through FGM. The names were changed for privacy reasons but the first story the women talks about the cruel treatment she endured during the procedure. She mentioned that many of the girls died because they bled to death. She moved to the US to escape the harsh treatments. She also states that she will not have her daughters go through FGM.

Both these articles were hard to read because of the information contained in stories. I think it was necessary for me to read actual stories of FGM victims to find out true facts rather than facts that the government shares. The FGM procedure is extremely dangerous and I don’t think anyone deserves to be put through such pain. The young girls do not have a choice whether to have the procedure done. FGM affects their whole life from health complications to childbirth problems.

Week 9

One of the articles i read this week was Head of Egypt’s council for women slams detained female activists. This article talked about one of the statements that the Head of Egypt’s council stated. She mentioned that female activists that were behind bars deserved to be there. The community was shocked by the Presidents comment. She also discussed the prison conditions that the female activists lived in. She referred to the conditions as “They live better than they were living on the outside”. The second article I read was Human Rights Watch calls for anti-FGM measures in Egypt. This article reported on how the campaign group, Human Rights Watch (HRW), forced authorities to take action against the doctor who conducted the FGM procedure on the young girl who died on the table. Rothna Begum, a human rights researcher, states the the authorities need to send a clear message to the public that FGM is outlawed and strict punishments are in place for those who practice FGM.

Both these articles were interesting to read. FGM seems to be a clear problem in Egypt and affects many young women. It is sad to see how certain government officials make statements about women when they are women as well. Womens rights need to be focused on and law enforcement needs to be involved as well.

week 8

This week I read another two interesting articles that were in the news. The first was Egypt ‘worst for women’ out of 22 countries in Arab world. This news article talked about a study that conducted in various countries including Egypt. The most interesting result from the study was that Egypt was found to be worst country for women’s right. It also stated that there are several cities in Egypt where a large part of the economy is based on human trafficking and forced marriages. The second article I read was from an actual website that provides information about Egypt. The article was called Women’s Rights and discussed how women’s rightshave improved over the years in Egypt. It mentioned how women are now able to hold positions in office such the Supreme Constitutional Court. 49% of women in universities are women and the women who give birth before 18 years old has decreased. The article also discussed how maternal rights have also improved. Overall, I think both articles were interesting and I have decided to focus on the issue of FGM in Egypt. I think that some government websites may post false statistics to hide the corruption that is happening.

Week 7

I read two very interesting articles this week. There were both on different topics. The first article I read was Tradition of female genital mutilation persists in Egypt. The article contained some followup information on a specif FGM case that I had previously wrote about. The doctor, Raslan Fadl, is being allowed to continue his practice while awaiting trial. Many ciiens admire him for his medical wok and his charity work. He is loved by many. Thursday November 20 Fadl will receive his verdict. FGM continues to occur because many individuals believe that it necessary for young girls to stay pure until marriage. Parents fear that if their daughters do not undergo FGM that they will never be able to marry. The latest FGM survey stated that 91% of women from the ages of 15-39 have undergone the procedure. Surprisingly, the rate for women between the ages of 15-17 has decreased to 74%. This means that some families have begun to do away with FGM.  The second article I read was Attack in Egypt’s Sinai Leaves Many Dead. This article was about an attack that occurred in Sinai were killed late Tuesday November 18. There was a total of seven people that were killed. The victims included both children and adults. This all occurred when there was an attack on Sinai’s Peninsula. Neighbors and nearby individuals claimed that the home was hit by missiles. When the Egypt military was questioned, they did not respond. It was interesting to read what was occurring in the case of FGM. I am nervously anticipating the verdict for Doctot Fadl. Action is being taken in Egypt which is improvement for the FGM issue. There have been several attaks on the border of Egypt. Residents say that the attacks have been occurring for some time now. In a previous attack, 31 people were killed. 

Week 6

This week I read two articles. The first was, Video of woman giving birth at hospital doorstep triggers outcry in Egypt. This article talked about how a pregnant woman in labor in Egypt was turned away from the hospital. The woman was with her husband at the time. The hospital staff told the couple that the doctor  was bust with another patient. People on the street were filming with their cell phones as the woman gave birth. The videos were soon uploaded on the internet. The hospital denied these allegations. They say that they never denied the women and that this was a set up to make the hospital look bad. The second article I read was,
Efua Dorkenoo Fought Against Female Genital Cutting. Dorkenoo died on October 18 at the age of 65. She was a famous for organizing campaigns to help fight against FGM. She started multiple organizations. She also wrote articles about the issue. The practice has been declining in many countries, including Egypt. Egypt is known for having the highest number of women who have been subjected to FGM. Although Dorkenoo has passed, the organizations will continue to fight to end FGM completely.
Both these articles were very interesting. We have briefly discussed women’s rights in class.After reading the chapter in book and reading multiple articles, I think that more needs to be done about these issues.

Week 5

The first article I read this, Egypt’s Battle to End Female Genital Mutilation, had a short video with a young girl and mother talking about FGM. The video shows the women who does the procedure of FGM. She shows how she rubs alcohol to sanitize then uses scissors to finish the job. It mentions that its takes four people to hold down the child. two for the arms and two for the legs. The children scream until the procedure is over. The mother of the child says that if the daughter dies during the procedure, its ok because she died cleansed. Another young girl witnessed her cousin being circumcised and begged her mother not to have the procedure done on her. After seeing her daughters reaction, the mother began to encourage others to avoid having the procedure done on their children. The second article I read,Egypt:Deadly risks, but Female Genital Mutilation Persists, talks about an ongoing case of FGM. A doctor and the childs father are being taken to trial for performing FGM. The young girl, Suhair, died during the procedure in Egypt. The doctor claims that he did not perform FGM. He performed another procedure and later gave her penicillin, which she was allegoric to an d later died. Faith and tradition have been the main reasons behind FGM. There have been multiple reports of FGM being performed on newborns. FGM was outlaid in 2008 but to avoid being caught, clinics have been opened in private homes to perform FGM.

Both articles were very interesting to read. Now that we are covering Egypt in class, it is interesting to read on what the women go through. FGM has been an ongoing problem. Even though it was outlawed it continues to occur. Something needs to be done fast. I do believe that FGM is a type of child abuse. No child should be put through such pain. While reading both articles, I realized that male babies are often circumcised soon after birth. Every culture is different, but I think it crosses the line when death is involved.

Week 4

Prevalence of female genital cutting among Egyptian girls, was a very interesting article. It describes why females have their genitals cut and why they do so.  In certain cultures, it is custom that the women have their genitals cut at young age such as 4. There are many complications that could occur during the procedure such as the loss of too much blood. Anesthesia is not commonly used so the pain is known to be extreme. It has been estimated that between 100 and 130 million women have been subject to Female Genital Cutting (FGC). The womenn find the word "circumcision" offensive. In Egypt, 97% of married women have undergone FGC. They are not considered pure if they have not gone through the procedure and will be avoided by possible suitors. 69.1% of those married women had their daughters go through FGC. In a study, it showed that parents with little to no education were supporters of FGC and parents with an education seemed to have lower statistics for FGC. The second article I read was Egypt’s post-Morsi constitution gets almost total voters’ approval published on January 18, 2014, discusses the new constitution for Egypt. 98.1 % of Egyptians voted yes for the new constitution. Many people believe that the new constitution is the first step towards change. There are multiple problems though. One of the major concerns is whether Sharia Law will be the main source of legislation. Christians and liberals have tried to remove it from the constitution but the Salafi party insisted that it remain in a weaker form. The Muslim Brotherhood boycotted and stated that the poll was illegitimate.
Both these articles were very interesting to read. The women circumcision article did relate much to our readings but it helps to understand why females are subject to FGC. The second article related to our readings because it mentions the constitution and fighting for change. It reminded me of the documentary we are watching in class because these events occurred in Tahir Square in Cairo.

Week 3

The first article I read this week was, ISIS Kills Iraqi Woman Activist in Mosul. It talked about how ISIS killed a lawyer in front of the public. Samira Salih al-Nuaimi had been posting on Facebook about the religious sites that ISIS had destroyed. After finding out, they seized Samira from her home. She was then tortured for five days and publicly executed. Samira is not the only to be affected by militants. They broke into a females politicians home and killed her and took her husband. There have been several cases where militants kill and abduct women politicians. The second article I read was Egypt’s Trouble with Women. Lotfia El Nadi was the first female pilot in Egypt. She broke free of her fathers rule and followed of her dream of being an aviator. She was and continues to be a role model for young Egyptian women. The fight for equality was an ongoing issue and women followed her example and took flying lessons. Women have always been seen as their husbands property. The revolutions are fighting for equality for women. Both these articles were very interesting. The first article talks about ISIS which is a name that is very popular right now. ISIS has been seen all over the news.