Political invisibility of Female Genital Cutting in Pakistani society: Understanding this tradition and its implications on women in the Dawoodi Bohra community.

Project: HDR ProjectMasters by Research

Project Details


The main focus of this research is to gain a better understanding of the Dawoodi Bohra community, and their socio-cultural and religious reasons for performing female genital cutting in Pakistan, known locally as khatna or khafz. This practice has been carried out for centuries and there is a reasonable body of data on FGC in other countries, however no official research or statistics can be found on the Dawoodi Bohra community of Pakistan. WHO categorises it as a violation of human rights and bodily autonomy. Conversely, practising communities accept it as a rite of passage into womanhood. Compared to other countries, there is a lack of public dialogue and research on FGC in Pakistan, hence no official statistics or policies have been announced. Pakistani culture carries elements of gender inequality and is generally silent towards taboo topics of sexuality or genitalia. Therefore, it is important to explore gendered dynamics and minority status of Dawoodi Bohras which will uncover their existence in a society of majority Sunni Muslims. FGC will be observed through the stark differences between majority-driven political Islam and Dawoodi Bohra Islam, and their dichotomous co-existence within the same country. This research takes a closer look at the role and significance of FGC; and reasoning for its performance among Dawoodi Bohras (removal of clitoral prepuce, or a slight cut, piercing), despite revelation of medical, psychological and emotional implications. Furthermore, it speculates whether FGC maintains an invisible status due to factors such as; low profile functionality of Dawoodi Bohras, or lack of verbal discourse regarding topics of sexuality and genitals; or both. It uncovers how FGC has survived as a tradition without public discussion; and governmental involvement through national law or human rights.

StatusNot started


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