An excellent overview of genital morphology practices on girls has been offered by Favali (2001)[1]. In one 1999 study[2], circumcision had occurred before puberty in all cases under examination.

According to Silkin (1989:149[3] as cited by Green and Baden (1994:p14)[4], the betrothal of girls occured between the ages of 8-14 years, whilst marriage took place between 13-15 years. Between 1983 and 1987 the age of betrothal was raised to 15, the age of marriage remained unspecified, despite a minimum age of 18 set by the EPLF [Eritrean People‘s Liberation Front].



Further references:







Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. Volume I. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Apr 2005


[1] Favali, L. (2001) What is Missing? (Female Genital Surgeries - Infibulation, Excision, Clitoridectomy - in Eritrea), Global Jurist Frontiers 1:2, Article 1 []

[2] Davis, Gary; Julius Ellis, Milo Hibbert, Romeo P Perez, Erlene Zimbelman (1999) Female circumcision: The prevalence and nature of the ritual in Eritrea, Military Medicine [Bethesda] 164,1:11-6 [ill.]

[3]Silkin, T. (1989) "Women Can Only be Free When the Power of Kin Groups is Smashed": New Marriage Laws and Social Change in the Liberated Zones of Eritrea, International Journal of the Sociology of Law 17

[4]Green, Cathy & Baden, Sally (February 1994) Gender profile of the state of Eritrea. Report No 22 prepared for Danida []