Fact Sheet No.23, Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children
Traditional cultural practices reflect values and beliefs held by members of a community for periods often spanning generations. Every social grouping in the world has specific traditional cultural practices and beliefs, some of which are beneficial to all members, while others are harmful to a specific group, such as women. These harmful traditional practices include female genital mutilation (FGM); forced feeding of women; early marriage; the various taboos or practices which prevent women from controlling their own fertility; nutritional taboos and traditional birth practices; son preference and its implications for the status of the girl child; female infanticide; early pregnancy; and dowry price. Despite their harmful nature and their violation of international human rights laws, such practices persist because they are not questioned and take on an aura of morality in the eyes of those practising them.
The harmful traditional practices identified in this Fact Sheet are categorized as separate issues; however, they are all consequences of the value placed on women and the girl child by society. They persist in an environment where women and the girl child have unequal access to education, wealth, health and employment.
In part I, the Fact Sheet identifies and analyses the background to harmful traditional practices, their causes, and their consequences for the health of women and the girl child. Part II reviews the action taken by United Nations organs and agencies, Governments and organizations (NGOs). The Conclusions highlight the drawbacks in the implementation of the practical steps identified by the United Nations, NGOs and women's organizations.
To read the report, go here: