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Publications, working papers, and other research using data resources from IPUMS.

Boyle, Elizabeth Heger; Svec, Joseph 2017. Success in Reducing Female Genital Cutting: A Multilevel Framework of Social Change.

Female genital cutting (FGC) practices, which affect nearly 100 million girls and women worldwide (Yoder PS, Wang S, and Johansen E, Stud Family Plann 44(2):189204, 2013), cause immediate and long-term suffering. Fortunately, there has been a dramatic reduction in FGC in recent decades, and the downward trend is continuing, alleviating pain and negative health consequences for future generations of girls. The lessons learned from the successful case of FGC reduction have implications for reducing other types of suffering. We begin this essay with some background on FGC: what it is, where it occurs, its health consequences, why and how it is perpetuated, and changes in its prevalence over time. We then elaborate how reductions in FGC became possible, first, in terms of social policies adopted at the international level and, second, in terms of health, development, and education programs at the community level. Finally, we outline the ways in which the characteristics of FGC overlap with the characteristics of many forms of suffering, making FGC change a promising model for successful reforms in other areas.