Photo credit: Efua Dorkenoo, OBE & Jane Ellison MP, 2011

Female genital mutilation (FGM), a harmful practice that involves removing or damaging external female genitalia for non-medical reasons, is a global issue. Around the world, at least 200 million girls and women have undergone, or at risk of undergoing, FGM - and hundreds of thousands of them live in the UK.
 

How common is FGM in the UK?

According to estimates published by Equality Now and the City University of London, despite FGM being illegal in the UK since 1985, approximately 137,000 women and girls are living with the consequences of FGM in England and Wales, and 60,000 girls were born to mothers who have undergone FGM. 

“There is no time to waste on platitudes as thousands of girls living in England and Wales are having their life blighted by this damaging practice.” 
Efua Dorkenoo, OBE (1949-2014), pioneering anti-FGM activist

For more than twenty years, Equality Now has been at the forefront of efforts to end FGM around the world. We are a leading organization in developing a coordinated ‘joined-up’ approach to addressing FGM, which breaks down the barriers around both preventing and prosecuting cases. We are committed to implementing systems that educate parents, professionals, and community leaders on their role protecting girls from FGM. 

The advocacy of Equality Now and our partners contributed to the UN’s global ban on FGM in 2012, which was first time that the General Assembly put ending FGM on its agenda.  

The UK Leads in Ending FGM

As Secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group on FGM, we undertook extensive efforts to successfully raise the visibility of FGM in the UK through the media, conferences, and community outreach and with the UK Home Office.

Through all of the steps below - and continued advocacy and media coverage - the UK is now one of the leading countries in the global movement to end FGM. We are adapting our comprehensive approach to fit other country contexts, including the United States and across Africa.

Learn more about our campaign to eliminate female genital mutilation in the United Kingdom.

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Efua Dorkenoo, OBE & Jane Ellison MP in UK House of Commons, 2011
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Ending FGM in the UK
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Female genital mutilation (FGM), a harmful practice that involves removing or damaging external female genitalia for non-medical reasons, is a global issue. Around the world, at least 200 million girls and women have undergone, or at risk of undergoing, FGM - and hundreds of thousands of them live in the UK.
 

Body Top: 

How common is FGM in the UK?

According to estimates published by Equality Now and the City University of London, despite FGM being illegal in the UK since 1985, approximately 137,000 women and girls are living with the consequences of FGM in England and Wales, and 60,000 girls were born to mothers who have undergone FGM. 

“There is no time to waste on platitudes as thousands of girls living in England and Wales are having their life blighted by this damaging practice.” 
Efua Dorkenoo, OBE (1949-2014), pioneering anti-FGM activist

For more than twenty years, Equality Now has been at the forefront of efforts to end FGM around the world. We are a leading organization in developing a coordinated ‘joined-up’ approach to addressing FGM, which breaks down the barriers around both preventing and prosecuting cases. We are committed to implementing systems that educate parents, professionals, and community leaders on their role protecting girls from FGM. 

The advocacy of Equality Now and our partners contributed to the UN’s global ban on FGM in 2012, which was first time that the General Assembly put ending FGM on its agenda.  

The UK Leads in Ending FGM

As Secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group on FGM, we undertook extensive efforts to successfully raise the visibility of FGM in the UK through the media, conferences, and community outreach and with the UK Home Office.

Through all of the steps below - and continued advocacy and media coverage - the UK is now one of the leading countries in the global movement to end FGM. We are adapting our comprehensive approach to fit other country contexts, including the United States and across Africa.

Body Bottom: 

Progress: Ending FGM in the UK

March 2012

We organize a workshop that highlights gaps in preventing and prosecuting FGM

November 2012

With our partnership, the Home Office launches a Health Passport that outlines UK laws on FGM. It is designed to fit in the back of a girl’s passport or be carried by parents who want to protect their daughters from undergoing FGM while visiting family members in their countries of origin.

The UK Director of Public Prosecutions releases an Action Plan to tackle FGM in the UK. We are one of only two non-governmental organizations asked to be a part of the Director’s Steering Group on FGM Law in the UK.

June 2013

With guidance from Equality Now and other groups, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) launched an FGM helpline that received 102 calls in its first three months relating to women and girls at risk of FGM - 38 of which were referred to the police for further investigation.

September 2013

We work with the a range of other high-profile media outlets to get FGM stories in mainstream media in the UK, including a front-page article in The Evening Standard on 6 September which showcases the true scale of FGM in London and a front-page article in The Guardian on why the UK must act to end FGM

November 2013

We work with The Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and UNITE the Union on a groundbreaking report. In it, we make nine key recommendations on gathering and sharing information, training medical professionals, and working with multiple agencies to protect girls from FGM.

Together with the Daughters of Eve, we successfully call on the Home Office to take the lead on tackling FGM in the UK and implement a National Strategy and Action Plan. We launch a petition on 6 November, 2013, as a part of a Channel 4 Documentary called The Cruel Cut.

March 2014

Nearly 30 years after FGM was criminalized in the UK, The Crown Prosecution Service announces the first-ever prosecutions for FGM under the Female Genital Mutilation Act. This marks a watershed moment in the fight to end FGM in the UK and sends a strong message that violations of the law will not be tolerated.

July 2014

The UK hosts the first-ever Girl Summit, which focuses on ending "child marriage" and FGM. FGM is often a prerequisite for marriage, so making progress to end FGM will also accelerate the end of the practice of child marriage.

July 2015

We publish updated prevalence data on FGM in England and Wales with City University of London (funding from Trust for London and the Home Office). We release a guide to assist local authorities in understanding and reporting FGM (support from Trust for London, Rosa the UK Fund for Women and Girls, the Royal College of Midwives and City University London.) 
 

Read More: FGM in the UK in the media

Equality Now used media advocacy to partner with the Evening Standard and Guardian newspapers in particular to transform the conversation and raise the issue up the national agenda, ensuring drastic and comprehensive changes in policy.

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Author: 
Equality Now, City University of London
Author: 
Equality Now, City University of London
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Equality Now and partners
Author: 
Equality Now and partners
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Home Office
Author: 
Crown Prosecution Service
Photo Credits: 
Efua Dorkenoo, OBE & Jane Ellison MP, 2011

Progress: Ending FGM in the UK

March 2012

We organize a workshop that highlights gaps in preventing and prosecuting FGM

November 2012

With our partnership, the Home Office launches a Health Passport that outlines UK laws on FGM. It is designed to fit in the back of a girl’s passport or be carried by parents who want to protect their daughters from undergoing FGM while visiting family members in their countries of origin.

The UK Director of Public Prosecutions releases an Action Plan to tackle FGM in the UK. We are one of only two non-governmental organizations asked to be a part of the Director’s Steering Group on FGM Law in the UK.

June 2013

With guidance from Equality Now and other groups, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) launched an FGM helpline that received 102 calls in its first three months relating to women and girls at risk of FGM - 38 of which were referred to the police for further investigation.

September 2013

We work with the a range of other high-profile media outlets to get FGM stories in mainstream media in the UK, including a front-page article in The Evening Standard on 6 September which showcases the true scale of FGM in London and a front-page article in The Guardian on why the UK must act to end FGM

November 2013

We work with The Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and UNITE the Union on a groundbreaking report. In it, we make nine key recommendations on gathering and sharing information, training medical professionals, and working with multiple agencies to protect girls from FGM.

Together with the Daughters of Eve, we successfully call on the Home Office to take the lead on tackling FGM in the UK and implement a National Strategy and Action Plan. We launch a petition on 6 November, 2013, as a part of a Channel 4 Documentary called The Cruel Cut.

March 2014

Nearly 30 years after FGM was criminalized in the UK, The Crown Prosecution Service announces the first-ever prosecutions for FGM under the Female Genital Mutilation Act. This marks a watershed moment in the fight to end FGM in the UK and sends a strong message that violations of the law will not be tolerated.

July 2014

The UK hosts the first-ever Girl Summit, which focuses on ending "child marriage" and FGM. FGM is often a prerequisite for marriage, so making progress to end FGM will also accelerate the end of the practice of child marriage.

July 2015

We publish updated prevalence data on FGM in England and Wales with City University of London (funding from Trust for London and the Home Office). We release a guide to assist local authorities in understanding and reporting FGM (support from Trust for London, Rosa the UK Fund for Women and Girls, the Royal College of Midwives and City University London.) 
 

Read More: FGM in the UK in the media

Equality Now used media advocacy to partner with the Evening Standard and Guardian newspapers in particular to transform the conversation and raise the issue up the national agenda, ensuring drastic and comprehensive changes in policy.