International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2023

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This text was written by Noha Yasser, Intern at RWI.

The term Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a process where it involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia as a result of cultural but non-medical beliefs. FGM is considered as type of sexual violence against women and young girls.

FGM does not have any health benefits, on the contrary it causes mental and physical problems on young girls and women such as bleeding as well as future complications in childbirth and might later increase the risk of mortalities.

FGM is currently practiced in around 90 countries worldwide and it is widely common in Africa. Despite the fact that FGM is decreasing where it is most predominant, it remains as common and practiced as it was before. FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of human rights against young girls and women. FGM is usually practiced by non-medical practitioners and it leads to inequality and discrimination between men and women. FGM also violates women’s and girl’s rights to health, wellbeing and physical reliability; the rights to prevent sexual violence and unequal treatment; and the right to live.

Around 300 million girls and women worldwide have undergone (FGM) – many girls have undergone it before the age of 13. Despite being globally recognized as a human rights violation, FGM continues for different reasons.

Different reasons contribute to the continuation of FGM in different countries around the world. However, in every country in which it happens, FGM is a practice of deep-rooted discrimination against women and girls. Some countries use FGM as a ritual or cultural behaviour that is passed from one generation to another. Other countries practice FGM to suppress women’s sexuality and to make sure that they do not experience any form of pleasure before marriage.

International efforts have enhanced the policies taken to end and eliminate FGM. Nowadays, girls are less likely to face FGM by about one third less likely to be subjected to it than she was 40 years ago. Nevertheless, keeping these achievements and policies in the face of population growth is considered as a huge challenge against ending FGM. By 2030, nearly one in three girls globally will be born in the countries practicing FGM, putting around 50 million young girls at risk of FGM. If the international community are not taking actions against FGM, the number of girls and women experiencing FGM will highly exceed by 2030 than it is nowadays.

According to the World Bank, 84 countries in the world have domestic legislation that either specifically prohibits FGM or allows FGM to be prosecuted through other laws, such as the criminal or penal code, child protections laws, violence against women laws or domestic violence laws.

Featured image: Eva Blue

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