Female Genital Mutilation Continues

I recently came across an article in the International Business Times regarding Female Genital Mutilation that I found to be quite interesting. The UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) gathered data over the last 20 years to create a comprehensive report on statistics regarding female genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation also known as “FGM/C includes female circumcision or genital cutting, clitoral or labial excision, sutures, cauterization and symbolic piercings and pinpricks”.

The report focused on 29 countries (with the majority being in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Egypt, Iraq, and Yemen) where FGM/C is concentrated and continues. There are currently laws against FGM/C in at least 24 of these countries, but surprisingly, the practices still continue. In fact, three of the countries (Somalia, Guinea, and Djibouti) with laws strictly prohibiting FGM/C have the highest rates of practices for women ages 15-49. Statistics from the report also showed that there are 14 countries where at least half of all women are engaged in FGM/C practices.

More interesting than the numbers on modern practices are the approval rates of women and girls in countries where FGM/C practices exist. According to the report, 50 % of women Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Gambia, and Egypt support FGM/C practices while a large percentage of women and girls in 19 of the 29 countries studied believe the practice should end. Discrepancies were noted within the report. Moreover, it is also important to note that serious risks associated with FGM/C practices have been reported and include a range of serious health problems from infection, to infertility, and death.

For more information regarding FGM/C and to view the actual report, visit the UNICEF official website at www.unicefusa.org . You can also visit the Orchid Project’s website at www.orchidproject.org for more information on the history FGM/C practices and other resources.

FMGC

This picture illustrates the concentration of FGM/C practices. Source: www.orchidproject.com

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