6 Feb - International Day, Zero Tolerance for FGM

Translate political decisions into concrete actions at the grassroots to reach the goal of zero tolerance to female genital mutilation by 2030.

  • Female genital mutilation is a global human rights issue affecting girls and women in every region of the world.
  • At least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation.
  • Female genital mutilation is in decline in many countries. But if it persists at current levels, rapid population growth in countries where it is concentrated will significantly increase the number of girls subjected to it.
  • Target 5.3 in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for the elimination of harmful practices such as female genital mutilation. Unless action to end female genital mutilation is accelerated, another 68 million girls will have been cut by 2030.
  • Girls who undergo female genital mutilation face short-term complications like 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. They are also more likely to drop out of school and face child marriage.
  • Female genital mutilation is rooted in gender inequalities and power imbalances between men and women – and it sustains them by limiting opportunities for girls and women to realize their rights and full potential in terms of health, education and income.
  • Female genital mutilation violates the human rights of women and girls, contravening established principles, norms and standards including non-discrimination on the basis of sex; the rights to health, physical integrity and life; the right to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and the rights of the child.
  • More than 20 million women and girls in just seven countries have undergone female genital mutilation by a health care provider. Medicalizing the practice does not make it safer, as it still removes and damages healthy and normal tissue and interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies.
  • Eliminating female genital mutilation is a critical step towards realizing other SDGs, which focus on good health and well-being, safe motherhood, quality education, inclusive societies and economic growth.
  • Ending female genital mutilation takes work at many levels, from dialogue and action that engages families and communities, to protection and care services for girls and women, laws and their enforcement, and political commitment at the local, regional, national and international levels.

Results from the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation; Accelerating Change:

  • From 2014 to 2017, the prevalence of female genital mutilation among girls aged 15-19 has declined in 10 of the 17 countries supported by the Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM.
  • From 2008 to 2017, more than 34.6 million individuals made public declarations of female genital mutilation abandonment in more than 21,000 communities.
  • Between 2014 and 2017, some 3.3 million women and girls accessed prevention, protection and care services across 16 countries.
  • 13 countries of the 17 supported by the Joint Programme have laws banning female genital mutilation, and similar laws are pending in three more countries.