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Female genital mutilation: The limits of cultural relativism

Parke, M. (1999) Female genital mutilation: The limits of cultural relativism. Sister in Law, 4 . pp. 7-46.

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The subjugation of women is as old as the history of 'mankind'. It is a social custom that goes back at least to the Stone Age. Indeed, the practice of female genital mutilation is said to have its roots in that era. In any event, it certainly pre-dated the world's major religions, including Islam, the religion with which it is most closely associated.

With the fairly recent emergence of women's voices at the international level protesting the systemic violence against women, of which female genital mutilation is a serious manifestation, there has been a countervailing force, known as cultural relativism, calling for States to safeguard their cultural, religious and community values against the imposition of Western norms of sexual licence and amoral individualism.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Law
Publisher: Enid Russell Society, School of Law, Murdoch University
Copyright: Enid Russell Society
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