End Harmful Practices - Equality Now


Harmful practices, such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and “Child marriage”, are violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

What are ‘Harmful Practices’?

Harmful Practices’ is an all-encompassing term used by the United Nations to categorize forms of violence or ritual discrimination, primarily committed against girls and women, that have become culturally normalized.

There is no comprehensive list of harmful practices, however some of the most common include:

• Female genital mutilation (FGM)
• Child and forced marriage
• “Honor” crimes
• Female infanticide
• Bride kidnapping
• Stoning
• Polygamy
• Virginity tests

These practices represent a denial of the dignity and integrity of the individual and a violation of human rights.

They seek to coercively control women and girls and their sexuality, and are often interconnected with each other, as well as with other forms of violence, discrimination and subordination of women and girls.

They encompass a range of abuse which results in economic and social coercion, physical and psychological damage, disability and even death.

Female genital mutilation (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.

It has zero health benefits and often results in lifelong health problems, increased risks during childbirth, psychological trauma, and even death.

Read more about FGM   

Equality Now has been at the forefront of global efforts to eliminate FGM for over two decades, pushing for laws that protect girls and criminalize the practice, and supporting grassroots activists working to end FGM in their communities.

Read more about our campaign to end FGM  

“Child Marriage”

“Child marriage” is a global problem, affecting 15 million girls each year. It legitimizes abuse, violates girls’ human rights and denies them their autonomy, all under the guise of culture, tradition and religion.

Through a combination of advocacy reporting, strategic litigation and partnership-building, Equality Now pressures governments to end this harmful practice, and address the gender inequalities that drive it, creating a safer, healthier world for girls.

Read more about our campaign to end “Child Marriage” 

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