3 research outputs found

    Lack of Data and Dialogue on Female Genital Mutilation in Pakistan

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    Female genital mutilation (FGM) affects women in many countries and carries significant socio-sexual and cultural implications such as affected female sexual pleasure and a strong association with traditions which are believed to form a cultural identity. This essay explored the lack of data and discourse regarding this practice among the Dawoodi Bohra community in Pakistan. Due to the Pakistani government’s lack of recognition and public dialogue on this issue, there remains no official laws, statistics, or empirical research about the ritual. Despite the rise of feminism and women’s empowerment in many contemporary societies, Pakistan has not initiated any FGM debate in the domains of government, political activism, or academia. Simultaneously, FGM remains secretive and taboo within the Dawoodi Bohra community. This overall lack of awareness has left little to no resources or methods to study FGM in the country. To help bridge this data gap, this essay investigated the religious and cultural significance of FGM among Dawoodi Bohras in Pakistan, discussing factors and justifications that perpetuate the tradition. A unique interplay of patriarchal and matriarchal power structures may be driving FGM in this population, resulting in continued violation of the bodily autonomy of female children and unclear negative effects on women (e.g., physical pain, sexual problems, and psychological trauma). This paper also contrasted universalist and cultural relativist theories of FGM and recommended a research approach characterized by increased cultural competence, sensitivity, and non-judgmental exploration. By pursuing well-designed, culturally sensitive research about FGM in Pakistan, it is possible to initiate productive public discourse and action without incurring shame upon women and entire communities


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    The strive for women’s emancipation and equal rights recently emerged as a topic of major concern within the socio-cultural arena of developing countries, such as Pakistan. Lack of awareness and cultural conditioning fosters an unsafe environment towards young girls and women. They are marginalized to challenges of honour killing, forced marriages and ‘Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)’. The latter, remains a widely unknown and overlooked issue within Pakistani society. This paper critically analyzes FGM/C as a physically invasive procedure practiced amongst women, that belong to a tight-knit community of “Dawoodi Bohra Muslims”, in Pakistan. They are considered a sub-sect of Shi’ite Muslims whose roots are thought to be tracked back to regions of Yemen or Egypt, it is also suggested that some of their ancestors might have belonged to African origins. An insider versus outsider approach will explore how FGM/C is not a normalized practice in outsider communities and is seen as a clear violation of human rights by the United Nations. Comparative investigation includes surface revision of quantitative and qualitative data to understand social, psychological and sexual after-effects. Furthermore, collection of primary source surveys and semi-structured interviews enunciate reasons as to why the community practices this ritual. To better tackle themes of gender discrimination, it is imperative to pursue in-depth studies of the religious removal or alteration of clitoris and/or labia from the female anatomy and how it curbs sexual pleasure of women. This topic scrutinizes that a mixed methodology approach allows tolerant comprehension of female circumcision, yet does not nullify acknowledgment of its patriarchal roots and violent nature. Lastly, it will emphasize that cultural male domination can control and morph a woman’s sexual identity. This research topic could contribute towards humanitarian information and approaches which could improve the situation of women that undergo FGM/C

    Internationalising Lilith, localising diverse feminist pasts

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    The 2023 volume of Lilith is the first to be produced under the Managing Editorship of Alison Downham Moore, a global, medical, sexuality and gender historian from Western Sydney University who took over in September 2022 from Alana Piper. While Lilith has always been open to contributors from different world regions and authors working on any geographical or temporal field of historical studies, this volume evinces an enrichment of Lilith’s commitment to diversity and global scope, while still maintaining its important base for emerging scholarship in Australian feminist historical studies. The past year has seen the Lilith Editorial Collective welcome several new members who have contributed to this introduction and shepherded the articles contained in this volume of the journal. We have also farewelled others, including Rachel Caines, Brydie Kosmina, Lauren Samuelsson, Jennifer Caligari, Kate Davison and Michelle Staff, whom we thank heartily for their service. Moore’s editorial stewardship and the new collective bring both a renewed commitment to encouraging underrepresented voices in historical writing, including First Nations voices, providing additional support for scholars with first languages other than English, and extending a new experimental invitation to consider works of scholarship in novel genres of writing for academic journals