New Report: Two Hundred Million Women and Girls Globally are Victims of Female Genital Mutilation

A UN statistical report issued ahead of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has compiled new survey data indicating, “at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation.” FGM is widely considered a violation of women’s and girls’ human rights that poses serious physical and mental health risks for victims. According to the UN’s new resource, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Global Concern, nearly one-quarter of FGM victims are girls under the age of fourteen and most victims were cut before they were five years old. The new survey data also indicate that exploding population growth in countries where FGM is prevalent will make it difficult to end the harmful practice.

However, according to the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), awareness of the extent of FGM, including accurate data collection and dissemination, is critical to the elimination of FGM. In countries where governments have collected and published statistics on FGM, the practice is declining and the majority of people in these countries think FGM should end. More countries are criminalizing the practice and the UN General Assembly included the elimination of FGM and other harmful practices in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in September 2015.

Compiled from: New statistical report on female genital mutilation shows harmful practice is a global concern, UNICEF Press Release (February 5, 2016).