Demographic Perspectives on Female Genital Mutilation
FGM has been internationally recognized as an extreme form of violation of the rights, health and integrity of women and girls. In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the first-ever resolution against FGM (67/146), calling for intensified global efforts to eliminate it.
The resolution reaffirms that FGM is “a harmful practice that constitutes a serious threat to the health of women and girls, including their psychological, sexual and reproductive health, which can increase their vulnerability to HIV and may have adverse obstetric and prenatal outcomes as well as fatal consequences for the mother and the newborn, and that the abandonment of this harmful practice can be achieved as a result of a comprehensive movement that involves all public and private stakeholders in society, including girls and boys, women and men.”
The resolution demonstrates deep concerns about the persistence of FGM, indicating increasing international commitment to abandonment of the practice. But so far, a funding shortfall has limited the scope and pace of programmes to achieve elimination.
FGM is a deeply ingrained cultural practice with devastating medical, social, emotional, legal and economic
repercussions for young girls and women.
It refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural or other nonmedical reasons.2 Although primarily concentrated in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, FGM is a universal problem. It is practiced in some countries in Asia, including India, Indonesia, Iraq and Pakistan, as well as in Latin America, and among immigrant populations in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. The European Parliament estimated that, in 2009, about 500,000 women lived with the consequences of FGM in the European Union, and approximately 180,000 additional women and girls are at risk of undergoing it each year.