Conformity and change: Community effects on female genital cutting in Kenya

Sarah R. Hayford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this article, I analyze women's decisions to have their daughters circumcised based on data from 7,873 women in Kenya collected in the 1998 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey. I use multilevel models to assess the degree to which women's decisions are correlated with the decisions of other women in their community, in addition to studying the effects of socioeconomic characteristics measured at both the individual and community levels. I find some support for modernization theories, which argue that economic development leads to gradual erosion of the practice of female circumcision. However, more community-level variation is explained by the convention hypothesis, which proposes that the prevalence of female circumcision will decline rapidly once parents see that a critical mass of other parents have stopped circumcising their daughters. I also find substantial variation among different ethnic groups in the pace and onset of the decline of female genital cutting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-140
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Health and Social Behavior
Volume46
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Kenya
Female Circumcision
Nuclear Family
Parents
Economic Development
Decision Support Techniques
Social Change
Ethnic Groups
Demography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

Conformity and change : Community effects on female genital cutting in Kenya. / Hayford, Sarah R.

In: Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol. 46, No. 2, 06.2005, p. 121-140.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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