Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

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 "FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. The practice violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death." --World Health Organization

>> GLOBAL: Don’t leave girls behind – UN Sustainable Development Goals MUST have GLOBAL indicators on female genital mutilation & ‘child marriage’
>> UNITED STATES: Protect Women and Girls from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
>> UNITED STATES: Protect Girls and Women in Massachusetts from Female Genital Mutilation
>> EGYPT: Enforce the conviction against doctor in FGM-related death of Soheir al-Batea
KENYA: Protect girls by enforcing FGM and child marriage laws
>> INDONESIA: End government legitimization of female genital mutilation (FGM)
>> LIBERIA: Enact a law banning FGM and ensure that Ruth Berry Peal’s case is swiftly concluded
>> MALI: Call for the enactment of an anti-FGM law

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a harmful traditional practice that involves the partial or total removal of the female genitalia. It is estimated that between 100 and 140 million girls and women around the world have undergone genital mutilation. FGM ranges from the partial or total removal of the clitoris (clitoridectomy), to the removal of the entire clitoris and the cutting of the labia minora (excision), to its most extreme form, the removal of all external genitalia and the stitching together of the two sides of the vulva (infibulation).

FGM is generally done without anaesthetic, and can have lifelong health consequences including chronic infection, severe pain during urination, menstruation, sexual intercourse, and childbirth, and psychological trauma. No one knows how many girls die from FGM.

Grassroots organizations in FGM practicing countries are working hard within their communities to eradicate this practice. Equality Now supports the work of grassroots groups to end FGM and in particular focuses on the enactment and effective implementation of legislation against FGM in relevant countries.

Campaign for a Law Against FGM
in Mali 2009
Equality Now commends the 26 November 2012 adoption of a resolution (Res L21 revision 1) on female genital mutilation (FGM) by the UN General Assembly’s human rights committee. Led by African countries and adopted by consensus, the resolution calls upon States to implement laws eliminating FGM among several other recommendations. Backed by 110 sponsors, the UN General Assembly Plenary passed the resolution in December 2012. This represents the first time the General Assembly has agreed to include the elimination of FGM on its agenda.

6 February 2016 U.S. teen Miatta shares her story on International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM

20 July 2015 Equality Now and Safe Hands for Girls Call on the U.S. to Ensure Efforts to End FGM Last Beyond this Administration

21 October 2014 Remembering our friend and colleague, Efua Dorkenoo

10 October 2014 The Girl Generation Launches

23 July 2014 New Estimates on FGM in England and Wales by Equality Now and City University London

12 May 2014 Equality Now works to end FGM in the US

6 February 2014  Equality Now named to consortium leading a global campaign to end FGM/C

5 February 2014  African Activist Declaration from Equality Now Workshop

Other Equality Now initiatives to end FGM:
>> Eliminating FGM in the UK: The Way Forward

>> Africa Rising, a documentary film produced by Equality Now about the grassroots movement to end FGM

>> Campaign calling on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to revoke its 2010 policy statement on female genital mutilation

For information about past and completed campaigns in this program area, please see the actions archive.

Infographic: The global movement to end FGM
For additional resources on FGM, please click here.