Social Issues in Nursing and Midwifery Care Genital Female Mutilation

This paper explores one social issue, namely female genital mutilation (FGM) in Malta, and focuses on how this infringes on human rights of women, as well as the policies, if any, that are adopted to address the issue in the country. This paper also culminates in various recommendations, based on policy, which can be utilised to combat the social issue. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is also known as female circumcision of female genital cutting. This is a major concern for various international agencies, including World Health Organization (WHO) among others, since this oppressive practice is upheld by various regions of the world (UNICEF n.d). Nonetheless, the World Health Organization defines female genital mutilation as all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons (Against Violence Abuse, n.d, P.2). This practice is injurious to the genital organs of women, as is conducted for cultural and non-cultural reasons at the expense of the health, safety, well-being, and rights of women. Female Genital Mutilation is specific to each community that practises it. Therefore, different communities practise this in varying ways. The World Health Organization has developed a broad categorization of female genital mutilation, which involves the grouping of FGM into four different types, including Type I, Type II, Type III, and Type IV (Against Violence Abuse, n.d). Type I is also known as clitoridectomy, and involves the partial or total removal of the clitoris, including the prepuce. However, in some cases, the prepuce is not removed. Type II involves the removal of the clitoris together with part or whole of the labia minora. This is also referred to as excision. On the other hand, Type III involves the removal of most or part of the female genitalia. This form of FGM is also known as infibulation, and is considered the most severe form of all the forms of FGM. In this type of FGM, the vaginal entrance of a woman is stitched, and only a small allowance allowed for passing of urine and menstrual flow. Type IV according to WHO includes all the other procedures that are injurious to women’s genitalia, including piercing, scraping, incising, and pricking, among others, for reasons other than medical (Against Violence Abuse, n.d) According to Ouedraogo (2008), communities that practice Female Genital Mutilation do this for various reasons, which root from the culture. Kerubo (2010) also notes that since culture is broad and all-encompassing, the reasons for FGM in various communities are deeply entrenched in the political, social, and political structures of a community. Therefore, communities that practice FGM cite religious, health and hygiene, traditional, as well as gender-related reasons. With regard to religion, there is no known religion that prescribes female genital mutilation (UNICEF, n.d). However, Kerubo (2010) argues that some Muslim communities that practise FGM have made their women believe that this is a requirement for women in Islam, and in other communities, various perceived religious beliefs contribute to the upholding and continuation of FGM. Nonetheless, FGM is practised by communities that are affiliated to various religions, including Islam, Christianity, Jews, as well as Animists (UNICEF, n.d). Another reason for practising FGM by communities is that it confers identity to a woman