Female genital mutilation is a global problem and one which requires global action to end it. Research on the existence and prevalence of the practice is critical to the efforts to eradicate the practice. Laws criminalizing FGM provide a cornerstone for national efforts to end the practice. We’ve rounded up significant developments in laws and available data to end FGM over the last few months.Read more
The report, released by Equality Now, the End FGM European Network, and the US End FGM/C Network, shines a spotlight on the presence of FGM/C in over 90 countries around the world. This webinar highlighted the key findings of the report as well as hearing survivor perspectives and feedback from key UN agencies who are central in global efforts to end FGM/C.Read more
In this time of upheaval, we are seeing new depths and dimensions to our global sisterhood. The women’s rights movement is responding to COVID-19 with strength, humanity, and kindness. We will come out on the other side of this understanding more about ourselves, each other, and what we are capable of achieving together.Read more
- Country: United States of America (Mississippi)
- Law status: Discriminatory law in force
- Law Type: Child, Early & Forced Marriage
When young girls are forced to marry, they face potentially lifelong harmful consequences. They are essentially subject to state-sanctioned rape and are at risk of increased domestic violence, forced pregnancy and negative health consequences, while being denied education and economic opportunity.
Laws prohibiting marriage under the age of 18 for both girls and boys, without any exceptions, are needed to make explicit the States’, and societies’ understanding that young people need time to understand their independent circumstances before entering into a lifelong contract that will affect many aspects of their lives.
Section 93 of the Mississippi Code 1972 allows girls as young as 15 years old to be married with parental consent, while prohibiting the marriage of boys under the age of 17.
Section 93-1-5. 1) Every male who is at least seventeen (17) years old and every female who is at least fifteen (15) years old shall be capable in law of contracting marriage. However, males and females under the age of twenty-one (21) years must furnish the circuit clerk satisfactory evidence of consent to the marriage by the parents or guardians of the parties. It shall be unlawful for the circuit court clerk to issue a marriage license until the following conditions precedent have been complied with….
(d) If the male applicant is under seventeen (17) years of age or the female is under fifteen (15) years of age, and satisfactory proof is furnished to the judge of any circuit, chancery or county court that sufficient reasons exist and that the parties desire to be married to each other and that the parents or other person in loco parentis of the person or persons so under age consent to the marriage, then the judge of any such court in the county where either of the parties resides may waive the minimum age requirement and by written instrument authorize the clerk of the court to issue the marriage license to the parties if they are otherwise qualified by law….
Note: The Mississippi Code, 1972 applies only to the State of Mississippi. There is no federal law applicable to the entire country which prescribes the minimum age of marriage for all persons within the United States.
However, under 18 United States Code section 2243, it is a defense to the crime of statutory rape of a minor under the age of 16 years if the persons engaging in the sexual act were married to each other. This provision legitimizes child “marriage” under federal law. It also provides for different standards of protection to minors from statutory rape based on their marital status and in some cases would legitimize rape of children. Take Action here.
Section 2243: (a) Sexual Abuse Of a Minor.—Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with the head of any Federal department or agency, knowingly engages in a sexual act with another person who—
- has attained the age of 12 years but has not attained the age of 16 years; and
- is at least four years younger than the person so engaging;
or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.
(c) Defenses.—(2) In a prosecution under this section, it is a defense, which the defendant must establish by a preponderance of the evidence, that the persons engaging in the sexual act were at that time married to each other.
Although Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution theoretically provides every person “equal protection of the laws,” the U.S. Constitution does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which prohibits the denial of equality of rights under the law on account of sex was passed by the United States Congress in 1972. However, the ERA is yet to be ratified by the required number of States. With two States recently ratifying the ERA in 2017 and 2018, the ERA is now just one State away from ratification.
Take Action to help ratify the ERA here!
Call on Federal and State Officials to turn words into deeds. Take action today.
BRUSSELS, LONDON, SAN FRANCISCO, March 17, 2020 - Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C) is happening in far more countries around the world than widely acknowledged, and the number of women and girls who are affected is being woefully underestimated, finds a new global report.Read more
Female genital mutilation in Africa
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a human rights violation, a form of violence and discrimination against girls and women. It is most often carried out on girls between infancy and age 15, though adult women are also subjected.
Where are women living with the consequences of female genital mutilation or at risk in Africa?
Are there laws against female genital mutilation in Africa?
Laws against female genital mutilation are most common in the African continent. 28 countries in Africa have enacted specific laws or specific legal provisions against female genital mutilation.
Where are women living with the consequences of female genital mutilation or at risk in the Asia-Pacific?
Are there laws against female genital mutilation in the Asia Pacific region?
In Asia, not a single country has enacted a specific legal prohibition against female genital mutilation. Both Australia and New Zealand have specific laws against female genital mutilation.