What is FGM?
Female Genital Mutilation is the partial or complete removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is mostly carried out – without anesthetic – on girls between infancy and age 15. FGM has zero health benefits and often results in lifelong health problems, increased risks during childbirth, psychological trauma, and even death.
Often rationalized as a rite of passage into womanhood, in reality FGM is an extreme form of violence used to control girls’ and women’s sexuality. It involves a mixture of cultural, social and religious traditions associated with preparing for adulthood and marriage, and ideals of community, modesty and fidelity. Most instances occur in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, but FGM is also practiced in Australia, Europe, Latin America, New Zealand and North America.
Equality Now advocates for a world where women and girls have control over their bodies and choices. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which affects more than 200 million women and girls around the world, is a human rights violation deeply rooted in gender inequality and discrimination.