Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The impact of criminalisation on female genital mutilation in England : from the perspective of women and stakeholders
Author: Proudman, Charlotte Rachael
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 0636
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a global problem that stems from gender inequality. Increased migration from countries that perform FGM to England has led to the practice travelling across borders. FGM is subject to heightened political debate and media sensitivity in the England and across the Western world. Debates about FGM often proceed from a universal standpoint that the practice should be prohibited through law. However, the efficacy of FGM legislation is questionable and rarely subjected to scrutiny. Despite implementing a criminal offence of FGM in 1985 and introducing subsequent stringent legal changes, there has not been one conviction for a practice, which remains prevalent in England. A failure to secure convictions for a practice that continues suggests that the law has left women and girls unprotected. To understand why the practice persists in a context in which FGM is criminalised, this thesis aims to address the potential and limitations of social and cultural change through the law. My qualitative research findings are based on two focus groups each with 11 women from FGM-performing communities and 79 semi-structured interviews with women and stakeholders who are responsible for designing and enforcing FGM legislation, including legal professionals, police officers, Members of Parliament and Members of the House of Lords. I chose to interview these two groups of participants to understand the different perspectives of women subject to the law and stakeholders responsible for enforcing the law. The interview data shows the importance of an intersectional analysis of FGM that accounts for women’s experiences of gender, race, ethnicity, nation, nationality and religion. While FGM is performed upon girls and women’s bodies to control their sexuality, women also identified FGM as representative of other identity issues including race, group rights, migrant culture and religion. The data highlights the complex meanings women ascribe to FGM and the challenges they encounter in accessing the criminal justice system. In contrast, stakeholders believe anti-FGM legislation is a means for the state to eliminate ‘cultural’ violence against women and girls and enforce British values upon minority groups. The findings from the interviews with women and stakeholders revealed a stark divide in the two groups understanding of FGM and their attitudes towards the law. Examining FGM in the context of criminalisation from two different perspectives highlights the core barriers to the enforcement of law.
Supervisor: Desai, Manali Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Female genital mutilation ; feminism ; female circumcision ; women's rights ; law ; Race ; Equality