Report Estimates Number of FGM Cases in Africa
Monday, June 2, 2008 10:35 AM

A Working Paper produced by the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) of Macro International for review by the United States Agency for International Development provides an estimate of the number of women and girls in Africa aged fifteen years and older who have undergone female genital mutilation. The report is intended to reduce uncertainty about worldwide figures by focusing on a specific population for which reliable data is available. Data on the prevalence of FGC/FGM outside of Africa is scarce, and reliable data does not exist for girls under the age of fifteen.

The report explains in detail how the numbers were calculated for the various African countries included. In twenty countries, survey date was available from the DHS or from UNICEF’s Multiple Index Cluster Surveys (MICS). Some estimates still had to be made, for instance in cases where survey data was only available for women between the ages of fifteen and forty-nine, or where it was unavailable for women who had never married. For those twenty countries, the estimated number of circumcised women and girls at least fifteen years old was nearly 75 million, more than half of whom live in Egypt, Ethiopia, and northern Sudan.

In seven other countries, where survey data from DHS or MICS was not available, calculations were based on other estimates from various sources and information about the ethnic composition of the populations. The total in these countries was over four million, bringing the grand total for all twenty-seven countries included in the report to more than 79 million women and girls who have undergone FGM.

For the full report, click here.

Compiled from: Women’s U.N. Report Network; P. Stanley Yoder and Shane Khan, "Numbers of women circumcised in Africa: The Production of a Total," Macro International, Inc., DHS Working Papers 2008 No. 39, March 2008. (PDF, 23 pages).