Ending Female Genital Mutilation by 2030
Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights, the health and the integrity of girls and women.
Girls who undergo female genital mutilation face short-term complications such as severe pain, shock, excessive bleeding, infections, and difficulty in passing urine, as well as long-term consequences for their sexual and reproductive health and mental health.
Although primarily concentrated in 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East, female genital mutilation is a universal issue and is also practiced in some countries in Asia and Latin America. Female genital mutilation continues to persist amongst immigrant populations living in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.
Over the last three decades, the prevalence of FGM has declined globally. Today, a girl is one-third less likely to undergo FGM than 30 years ago. However, sustaining these achievements in the face of humanitarian crises such as disease outbreaks, climate change, armed conflict and more could cause a rollback of progress toward achieving gender equality and the elimination of FGM by 2030.
More than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation. This year, nearly 4.4 million girls will be at risk of this harmful practice. This equates to more than 12,000 cases every day.
With seven years remaining in this decade of action, our collective actions must be centered around creating environments where girls and women can exercise their power and choice, enjoying full rights to health, education, and safety. And this is possible through investments in initiatives led by survivors of female genital mutilation who are challenging harmful gender and social norms. Their voices and actions can transform deeply rooted social and gender norms, allowing girls and women to realize their rights and potential in terms of health, education, income, and equality.
To promote the elimination of female genital mutilation, coordinated and systematic efforts are needed, and they must engage whole communities and focus on human rights, gender equality, sexual education and attention to the needs of women and girls who suffer from its consequences.