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Female Genital Mutilation
A custom which has been practiced for centuries in the belief in tradition, religion and culture has a long way to go on the road to reform. Approaching this issue in Western Australia requires a culturally sensitive approach in order to be effective. The various cultural justifications purported for FGM must be analysed and their underlying gender assumptions must be exposed and challenged. Specific legislation prohibiting FGM in Western Australia will not be successful in eradicating the procedure and may in fact be counterproductive. Instead of opting for legislation I have argued that educational schemes should be put in place. Although education already exists, it should be reformed to focus on empowering women within their own cultures so that affected women themselves can combat the practice. Furthermore, education must target the males within the community in order to change the value which they place upon the practice. It is only when the nature of the gender ideals of the culture itself shifts that FGM can truly be eradicated.
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