Policy ForumBehavior

Female genital cutting is not a social coordination norm

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Science  25 Sep 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6255, pp. 1446-1447
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa7978

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The World Health Organization defines female genital cutting as any procedure that removes or injures any part of a female's external genitalia for nonmedical reasons (1). Cutting brings no documented health benefits and leads to serious health problems. Across six African countries, for example, a cohort of 15-year-old girls is expected to lose nearly 130,000 years of life because of cutting (2). We report data that question an influential approach to promoting abandonment of the practice.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this research.