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The impact of FGM on Shangani women in Zimbabwe

Darlington Mutanda (History Department, War and Strategic Studies Unit, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe)
Howard Rukondo (Mutero High School, Gutu, Zimbabwe)

International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare

ISSN: 2056-4902

Article publication date: 14 March 2016




The purpose of this paper is to discuss the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the context of gender and HIV/AIDS among the Shangani people in Zimbabwe. Broadly, the discussion ais to fcus on how FGM has been used as tool to maintain the subordinate position of women in the Shangani community.


In addition to secondary material, the paper hugely benefited from interviews with Shangani women in order to appreciate the challenges of eradicating FGM in their society. The sources pointed to the fact that in addition to being exploitative, FGM has no direct health benefits to women.


The paper confirms that eliminating FGM is difficult because it is deeply entrenched in the patriarchal establishment of the Shangani society. As a result of the patriarchal nature of the society, women find themselves subjected to positions of powerlessness as compared to their male counterparts.


The paper confirms that FGM is a widespread practice in many African communities including Zimbabwe. As communities grapple with the challenges of eradicating or minimising the practice, it is important in the meantime to modernise cultural practices like FGM as a way of doing away with the spreading of HIV/AIDS. Indonesia has already taken that route. FGM as a cultural practice exposes young women to HIV infection because of blood conduct.



Mutanda, D. and Rukondo, H. (2016), "The impact of FGM on Shangani women in Zimbabwe", International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 52-61.



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