Who Performs it and When


Circumcision in Egypt is more likely to be performed slightly before puberty or at puberty (El Gibaly et. al., 2002). The 2008 EDHS indicates that median age of circumcision for girls is 10 years, with girls tending to be circumcised at a somewhat younger age in Upper Egypt and at somewhat older age in Lower Egypt.

Medicalization of FGM/C is a challenge that Egypt is currently facing. According to the 2008 EDHS, three quarters of the circumcisions in Egypt are performed by trained medical personnel. This represents a huge increase in the medicalization of the practice, amounting to 77.4 percent  in comparison to 17 percent in 1996 (EDHS, 1996).

'Medicalization' of FGM/C refers to situations in which FGM/C is practised by any category of health care provider, whether in a public or a private clinic, at home or elsewhere. Stopping medicalization of FGM/C is an essential component of the holistic, human rights-based approach for the elimination of FGM/C. The performance of FGM/C by health care providers constitutes a break in medical professionalism and ethical responsibility. In most countries, it also constitutes a violation of the law.

Reasons for its Support and Continuation

Although, a positive change in women’s attitudes about circumcision has occurred, there is still widespread support for the continuation of FGM/C in Egypt. The 2008 EDHS showed that 63 percent of women aged 15-49 believe that the practice should continue. The reasons for the continuation and communities’ support of the practice in Egypt are not different from other practicing communities.

FGM/C is part of the social fabric of the Egyptian community and is in some cases upheld by beliefs associated with religion. Husbands’ preferences for circumcised women and the prevention of adultery were among the most cited reasons by women aged 15-49 for supporting the practice (60 percent, 39 percent, respectively). FGM/C was believed to be a religious tradition by most of the women. Findings of the 2004 EHDS showed that 72 percent of women age 15-49 believe that circumcision is a religious tradition.