Tuesday 6th February is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights, the health and the integrity of girls and women.
Girls who undergo female genital mutilation face short-term complications such as severe pain, shock, excessive bleeding, infections, and difficulty in passing urine, as well as long-term consequences for their sexual and reproductive health and mental health. There are no health benefits, only harm.
FGM is carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15yrs. Treatments of health complications associated with FGM is estimated to cost health systems in excess of USD 1.4 billion every year, a figure expected to rise unless urgent action is taken to prevent the procedure.
More than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation, primarily in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. FGM continues to persist amongst immigrant populations living in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. This year more than 4.4 million girls will be at risk of this harmful practice. This equates to more than 12,000 cases every day.
International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is observed annually to provide an opportunity for all agencies involved in ending FGM to celebrate achievements, advocate for abandonment of the practice and raise awareness.
Girls are one third less likely to be subjected to FGM today compared to 30 years ago; however, progress needs to be at least 10 times faster to meet the global target of FGM elimination by 2030.
2024 theme: Her Voice. Her Future: Her Voice.
There is an urgent need for even more targeted, coordinated sustained and concerted efforts if we are to achieve our common goal of ending female genital mutilation by 2030. Every survivor’s voice is a call to action, and every choice they make in reclaiming their lives contributes to the global movement to end this harmful practice.