Jordan

Population

10,008,270

Female genital cutting (FGC) is only known to be practised in the city of Rahmah, which has a population of approximately 500 people.

2018 population growth rate

2.08%

Estimated prevalence among women

There is little information on FGC in Jordan, however a small scale study carried out by the Jordan Times, ‘Female circumcision still haunts Jordanian tribe in southern Jordan’ (1999) suggested that 100% of women have been cut.

Source: Sorenson


Type practised

The Jordan Times study suggested that Type I and Type II FGC are most widely practised in Rahmah.

Source: The Daily Star


Age

The same study carried out by the Jordan Times suggested that girls are cut between the ages of 8 and 12.


Agent

Traditional cutter.


Legal status

There is no law banning FGC in Jordan. Government officials say that this is because FGC is contained to the small population in Rahmah, rather than a lack of interest in supporting abandonment of the practice.


National progress

  • 2003 – Government officials stated they are in the process of developing a strategy to end FGC in Rahmah.

Efforts to end FGC

  • A 2003 article in the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reports that younger generations of tribeswomen in Rahmah said they were aware FGC is not an obligation of Islam. Others that had undergone the practice complained of “sexual frigidity”, prompting their husbands to take second and third wives.

Ongoing challenges

  • FGC is thought of as halal (allowed by Islam) within the Rahmah community. Jordan’s Mufti Saeed Abdul Hafeez Al Hijawi ruled that FGC was a “noble trait” accepted by Islam, despite the practice not being a religious obligation.
  • Many misconceptions are attached to the practice, based on entrenched cultural notions of femininity. Some of these reported misconceptions include that uncircumcised women are not “pure” or chaste, and that food made by an uncircumcised woman will not taste good.
  • The community’s patriarchal structure prevents women from challenging elders and/or their husbands, even if the women are aware that Islam does not encourage FGC and they understand the negative health consequences.
  • Education is also a challenge in Rahmah. Lack of access to basic information, particularly on health and the body, means that misconceptions perpetuate around FGC.

History

FGC is thought to have come to Rahmah through nomadic Bedouin tribes’ migration. Bedouins roamed across the Wadi Araba region until forced to settle in areas bordering Israel in 1967.

The silence around the practice in Rahmah was broken in 1999 after social workers came across it while conducting a study on the community’s health needs. Their findings resulted in an article being published in a newspaper, which made the existence of FGC in Jordan public.


Human Development Index ranking

 95 in 2018 index, based on 2017 data.


Infant mortality rate

 15 deaths per 1,000 live births (2016).


Maternal mortality rate

58 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015).

Source: Human Development Index


Major Languages

Arabic


Major religions

Sunni Muslim 95%

Sufi, Shiite and Baha’i 5%

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