Why married women in Uganda are getting circumcised

Traditionalists in Uganda are circumcising married women more than ever, a new report shows.

A survey released recently on prevalence of female genital cut in Uganda showed that 24 per cent of girls aged between 10 and 14 years have experienced some form of genital mutilation, while 76 per cent of women aged between 25 and 35 years have undergone the cut.

More than 200 youths were interviewed across Sebei sub-region in the survey conducted by The Reproductive Educative and Community Health Programme (REACH), an NGO. 


In an interview with a local Ugandan daily, REACH executive director Beatrice Chelangat said although the practice of circumcising young girls is declining in the country, circumcision of married women has become popular.

“This is done in private homes and in the bushes, hills, caves and in full knowledge of their husbands” said Ms Chelangat.

She added that some women across the border into Kenya where they undergo the cut.

“Wives claim that they are visiting relatives in Kenya but cross with local surgeons,” she said. 

According to the report uncircumcised married women face pressure from their husbands and some members of the society as they are not allowed to serve elders, get food from the granary or attend traditional meetings.

“The mothers-in-law abuse them, they are shunned,” said Ms Chelangat.

Globally, it is estimated that 100 million to 140 million girls and women alive have undergone some form of female genital mutilation, according to the United Nations Population Fund.