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  1. 1

    Female circumcision: strategies to bring about change. Proceedings of the International Seminar on Female Circumcision, 13-16 June 1988, Mogadisho, Somalia.

    Associazione Italiana Donne per lo Sviluppo [AIDoS]; Somali Women's Democratic Organization

    Rome, Italy, AIDOS, 1989. VIII, 148, [3] p.

    This book contains the proceedings of the 1988 International Seminar on Female Circumcision in Somalia. The first part relays the introductory addresses presented by the Assistant Secretary General of the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Somali Minister of Health, the Italian Ambassador to Somalia, the World Health Organization's resident representative in Somalia, and the President of the Somali Women's Democratic Organization. Part 2 offers five reports on efforts towards international cooperation to eliminate female genital mutilation undertaken by North/South women's organizations, the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, the Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development, and the World Health Organization. Part 3 includes three reports on religious and legal aspects of female genital mutilation, and part 4 presents reports of eradication efforts ongoing in Egypt, Nigeria, the Gambia, and Sudan. The fifth part of the volume is devoted to six reports on aspects of the practice of female genital mutilation in Somalia as well as eradication efforts that involve an information campaign and training. Part 6 reprints the reports of the working groups on health, the law, training and information, and religion, and the final part covers the final resolutions and closing addresses by a UN Children's Fund representative, a representative of the UN Commission for Human Rights, and the Assistant Secretary General of the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party. The Inter-African Committee's Plan of Action for the Eradication of Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children in Africa, approved by the seminar, is contained in the first appendix, and a list of seminar participants is attached in the second.
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  2. 2

    The recommendations of the International Conference on Population and Development: the possibility of the empowerment of women in Egypt.

    Jewett J


    This paper opens by pointing out that Muslim support of the recommendations contained in the Program of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was gained only because ICPD participants agreed that individual country compliance would be limited by national constitutional statutes and religious doctrine. If Egypt interprets the ICPD's "full respect for ... religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds" to mean "limited by" these factors, Egyptian women will remain unable to control their fertility. After this introduction, the first section of the paper summarizes the ICPD recommendations. Part 2 describes Islamic notions of women's role in society, and the third part shows how these ideas are mirrored in Egyptian society through an analysis of the importance of family and motherhood, Egyptian sexual standards, the veiling of women, and female genital mutilation. Part 4 considers the Islamic influence on Egyptian law, and the fifth part outlines past Egyptian efforts to achieve equality between the sexes. The paper ends by presenting the reforms that Egypt will have to institute to implement the ICPD recommendations. These include eliminating laws that perpetuate traditional gender roles and sexual standards. Egypt will also have to promote education as a key to empowering women and implementing the ICPD recommendations. It is also noted that women's organizations must play a key role in the reform process and that the process must take Islamic law into account.
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  3. 3

    The political and legal struggle over FGM in Egypt before and after the International Conference on Population and Development.

    Kirberger E; Randolph K; Toubia N

    In: Intersections between health and human rights: the case of female genital mutilation, by Elizabeth Kirberger, Kate Randolph, Nahid Toubia. New York, New York, Research, Action and Information Network for Bodily Integrity of Women, 1995. 10-7.

    During a workshop on eradication of female genital mutilation, a speaker noted that female genital mutilation has become a highly political issue in Egypt since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Before the ICPD, female genital mutilation had no place in the Islamic agenda although the practice had received the attention of several nongovernmental organizations. Attitudes towards female genital mutilation are tied to larger views about women's status and to political attempts to control women and their sexuality. Airing of the CNN film depicting the mutilation of an Egyptian girl forced the government to denounce the practice and to promise the international community that it would work to eradicate it. After the ICPD, the Islamic organization Al-Azhar launched a campaign against the eradication of female genital mutilation in an attempt to squash any fledgling move toward women's liberation and to embarrass the government. The campaign depicted female genital mutilation as a part of Egypt's cultural identity which must be preserved to resist Western oppression and domination. Female genital mutilation was a safe issue for the Islamic groups to forward since they knew the government would be unsuccessful in using legislation to eradicate it. The Minister of Health responded to this pressure by proclaiming that female genital mutilation must be performed by physicians. The Grand Mufti, the official interpreter of Islamic law, simply referred the matter to physicians. Those in Egypt who are fighting to change women's status and attitudes can not afford further sensationalization of this issue. Rather than using legislation in a futile attempt to change attitudes, court cases have been entered as a tool to raise awareness about the way female genital mutilation has been used as a political tool. These court cases carry the risk of failure but action has been enjoined against the Minister of Health for violating the code of medical ethics and a 1959 ministerial degree forbidding the practice of female genital mutilation in public hospitals. The court case against Al-Azhar charges that the organization violated its mandate by issuing a fatwa claiming that female genital mutilation is part of Islam. Only the Mufti has the authority to issue a fatwa.
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