Since its first formal formulation in the UN Fact Sheet No. 23 in 1995, the concept of ‘harmful traditional practices’ (HTP) has not only influenced international perceptions of practices listed in the fact sheet, but it has also inspired various actors worldwide to take (or continue) action against them. While many scholars have examined various practices categorised as HTP, little research has focused on the concept itself. My proposed research aims to do just that: through a multi-sited mixed-method approach, it aims to examine the construction and diffusion of the HTP concept. I focus on two specific HTPs – ‘female genital mutilation’ and ‘early marriage’ – in the context of British anti-HTP efforts in Kenya. In doing so, my research situates the construction and diffusion of the HTP concept in a broader history of Western problematising of ‘African women’ and ‘tradition’, and consequent interventions in African women’s lives.