Published by: BMC Women's Health
Year published: 2020

Abstract

Background: Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been a longstanding tradition in Egypt and until recently the
practice was quasi-universal. Nevertheless, there are indications that the practice has been losing support and that
fewer girls are getting cut. This study analyzes the prevalence of FGM in different birth cohorts, to test whether the
prevalence declined over time. The study also examines whether such a decline is occurring in all segments of
society or whether it is limited mostly to certain more modernized segments of society.


Methods: This study pooled data from the 2005, 2008 and 2014 waves of the Egypt Demographic and Health
Surveys (EDHS). The women participating in the EDHS provided data on 62,507 girls born to them between 1987
and 2014, including whether they were cut and at what age. Kaplan-Meier and Weibull proportional hazard survival
analyses were used to examine trends in the prevalence and hazards of FGM across birth cohorts. Controls for
region, religion and socioeconomic status of the parents were included in the Weibull regression.


Results: The results show a steady decline in FGM across the birth cohorts studied. The base hazard for the 2010
birth cohort is only 30% that of the 1987 one. Further analyses show that the decline in FGM occurred in all
segments of Egyptian society in a fairly similar manner although differences by region, religion and socioeconomic
status persisted.


Conclusions: This study confirms that FGM is declining in Egypt. The proportion of girls getting cut has declined
rapidly over the past few decades. This decline is not limited to the more modernized segments of society, but has
spread to the more traditional segments as well. The latter increases prospects for the eventual eradication of the
practice