Legal Awareness and Practices of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) among United Arab Emirates Medical Practitioners

Shamsa Al Awar, Kornelia Zareba, Gehan Sayed Sallam, Nawal Osman, Teodora Ucenic, Howaida Khair, Suzan Al Shdefat, Hadya Abdel Fattah, Sara Maki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), due to its regional occurrence, is a marginalized issue in the international arena. The aim of the study was to verify reasons for performing a procedure prohibited by international and domestic law. A cross-sectional study was conducted among nurses and doctors practicing in the UAE. The study was conducted from the 1 of January 2020 to the 31 of December 2021. The total number of recruited individuals who agreed to participate was 120, with the rate of return being 82%. About half of the participants (n = 59, 49.2%) have seen FGM/C patients in their UAE practice. Regarding medical staff, the total knowledge score concerning possible complications of the performed procedure was assessed at 64%, i.e., at a moderate level. None of our study participants had previously performed any type of FGM/C. However, 6.7% were willing to do it upon a mother’s or guardian’s request. About 83% of study participants stated that FGM/C should be halted internationally. Only 26.7% of the medical practitioners were aware of UAE law concerning FGM/C, while 50% had no knowledge concerning this issue. The present study reveals that cultural conditions take priority over medical knowledge, making medical practitioners inclined to accept the circumcision of girls and women. The crucial goals of future activities should focus on sensitizing society and the medical community, the need to create clear laws penalizing the practice, and the legal obligation to report the circumcision of a girl or woman.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4710
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • FGM
  • FGM/C
  • FGM/C awareness
  • FGM/C law
  • female genital mutilation/cutting
  • reasons for performing FGM/C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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