#DidYouKnow female genital mutilation (FGM) is a practice that involves altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons?
We must protect girls from this practice!
🎨: Cami Zea pic.twitter.com/sQUYYi9gdZ
— UNFPA (@UNFPA) February 2, 2022
This means an additional two million girls could be affected by 2030, according to the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, resulting in a 33 per cent reduction in global efforts toward eradication.
“We are losing ground in the fight to end female genital mutilation, with dire consequences for millions of girls where the practice is most prevalent,” said Nankali Maksud, UNICEF Senior Advisor, Prevention of Harmful Practices.
“When girls are not able to access vital services, schools and community networks, their risk of female genital mutilation significantly increases – threatening their health, education and future.”
In marking the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, observed annually on 6 February, UN agencies are appealing for stronger action to uphold the human rights, health and integrity of women and girls.
At least 200 million across the world today have undergone FGM, which refers to all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons.
FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and for a variety of cultural and social reasons which vary from region to region.
For example, in some communities it is considered a necessary part of raising a girl and preparing her for adulthood and marriage. In others, FGM is associated with cultural ideals of femininity and modesty.
Girls who undergo FGM, experience short-term complications such as severe pain, shock, excessive bleeding, infections, and difficulty in passing urine. There are also long-term impacts on their sexual and reproductive health, and on mental health.
‘Medicalization’ of FGM
FGM is a global problem, according to the UN. Although primarily concentrated in 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East, it is also practiced in some countries in Asia and Latin America, and by immigrant populations in Western Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.
In some countries it is still almost universal. UNICEF reports that roughly 90 per cent of girls in Djibouti, Guinea, Mali and Somalia are affected.
WHO has also pointed to an emerging alarming trend. Roughly one in four girls who have been subjected to FGM, or 52 million worldwide, were cut by health personnel, which is known as medicalization.