In order to act on economic factors, female genital mutilation must no longer be considered as a criterion of eligibility for marriage, and marriage must no longer be seen as necessary to ensure the material survival and social acceptance of women. As a result, it is necessary to change the consciousness, material conditions and decision-making possibilities of women (1). Part of this involves empowering women through better education and improved employment opportunities. In this way, their survival is ensured even without marriage, and economic dependence is reduced (2).
In “Seeking to save money, Sierra Leone village gives up FGM”, Nellie Peyton presents the special case of the Thawuya village (Sierra Leone) where economic costs surrounding the practice of FGM were so important that they progressively gave it up.
On February 6th 2020 – the International Day Against FGM- the WHO’s cost calculation tool was launched in Brussels. It is available online following this link: https://srhr.org/fgmcost/cost-calculator/ The WHO FGM Cost Calculator estimates the current and projected financial health care costs associated with FGM in 30 specific countries, as well as the potential cost savings to health systems when reducing new cases of FGM.
Research on the consequences and economic drivers of FGM is rare and an increase in focus on these areas would be clearly be beneficial. Most of the current research focuses on medical care, primariuly on obstetrics. The premises for a more systematic study of the economic drivers of FGM are gradually emerging.
Studies have revealed that the socio-economic subordination of women conditions the perpetuation of the practice of FGM (1), and that the more women exercise control over their lives, the more convinced they are that it is necessary to end the practice (2). Aditionally, the practice of female genital mutilation is believed to be linked to factors such as urban or rural residence, economic status and education (3).