To celebrate the international day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation (FGM) which comes up every February 6, the United Nations (UN) has called on the global community to reimagine a world that enable girls and women to have voice, choice and control over their own lives.
UN says systematic efforts are needed in order to promote the elimination of female genital mutilation, adding that the whole communities must be sensitized on how to focus on human rights, gender equality, sexual education and also must attend to the needs of women who suffer from its consequences.
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.
The intergovernmental organization also noted that 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.
This year, “No time for global inaction, unite, fund, and act to end female genital mutilation” is the theme and it acknowledges the long-term risks include chronic genital, reproductive health and urinary infections, menstrual problems, infertility, and obstetric complications.
In countries affected by this practice, seven out of ten girls and women feel that FGM should be abandoned.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “Together, we can eliminate female genital mutilation by 2030. Doing so will have a positive ripple effect on the health, education and economic advancement of girls and women.”
The United Nations Population Fund, formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, is a UN agency aimed at improving reproductive and maternal health worldwide. UNFPA gave some facts on Female Genital Mutilation.
- UNFPA estimates there may be as many as 2 million cases of female genital mutilation by 2030 that would have otherwise been averted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In 2021 alone, there are 4.16 million girls around the world, who are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation.
- According to a UNFPA (pre-COVID-19) study, the cost of preventing female genital mutilation is $95 per girl today.
- 30 countries where female genital mutilation is prevalent are experiencing high population growth, with at least 30 per cent of girls undergoing female population under the age of 15.
- Around 1 in 4 girls and women, or 52 million worldwide, experienced female genital mutilation, performed by health personnel pointing to an alarming trend in the medicalization of female genital mutilation.