02 February 2024

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2024

The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) observed every year on February 6th marks an important day for the world community. It provides an opportunity to forge stronger ties and take concerted action to reinforce our commitments to eliminate this harmful practice which continues to impact the lives of millions of women and girls. In 2024, nearly 4.4 million girls - or more than 12,000 each day - are at risk of FGM around the world. Despite tremendous progress made over the years, FGM continues to remain a serious challenge in many countries.   This year, as we observe the 13th anniversary of this international day with a theme that focuses on commemorating ‘Her Voice. Her Future. Investing in Survivor-Led Movements to End Female Genital Mutilation.’ Survivors of FGM play a huge role in confronting communities about the serious impacts of FGM and disrupting gender biased social norms that perpetuate this harmful practice. Amplifying the voices of survivors goes a long way in building collective action, creating safe spaces for open dialogue without any stigma or bias, and strengthening FGM elimination efforts and interventions at global, regional, and country levels. These initiatives further advance progress to achieve the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development.  UNICEF thereby calls on the global community to sustain the momentum towards achievement of SDG 5.3 by accelerating investment in survivor-led movements and elevating the voices of survivors, leading to the elimination of FGM.  For more information about FGM and the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme, click here (https://www.unicef.org/protection/unfpa-unicef-joint-programme-eliminating-fgm)  The advocacy flyer and key messages in English, French, and Arabic can be found on the right-hand side of this page. Human Interest Stories  Survivor turned advocate  Cut but not broken  Voices of Survivors: Testimonies  Mariam, a resilient young woman in the desert  Girls’ health and education: Indivisible rights, smart co-investments  In Kaédi, new generation educators committed to fighting female genital mutilation!  Fight against FGM in Boké, Conakry and Kindia  Art in the in the service of ending FGM  Empowered girls empower girls  Young and committed to girls well-being in Mali  My Sister, My Heroine  How a mother-to-mother support group in Sudan’s East is leading the way for improved quality of life   
11 October 2023

2022 Global Annual Report - Reimagining Resilience

In 2022, the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation achieved significant milestones. This annual report focuses on "reimagining resilience" to address the impact of the polycrisis on gender equality and women's empowerment. The report highlights the launch of Phase IV (2022-2030) of the Joint Programme, which emphasizes promoting girls' agency, achieving transformative change through social movements, strengthening partnerships with women-led organizations, expanding global influence, and leveraging public-private partnerships for FGM elimination. Despite challenges posed by the polycrisis, the Joint Programme delivered impressive results across 17 countries. By centring adolescent girls' agency, voice, and leadership, and scaling up partnerships with grassroots women- and youth-led organizations, the Joint Programme furthered its commitment to addressing gender equality and fostering resilience against FGM. Innovation and technology were harnessed to overcome obstacles and develop new solutions to tackle FGM. Key achievements include:  Around 1.2 million people participated in public declarations of FGM. Around 18.8 million people were reached through mass and social media campaigns. 281,595 girls and women received services in healthcare, social welfare, and access to justice. Around 2.5 million people actively engaged in community dialogues. 660,359 girls benefited from comprehensive sexuality education and life skills programs. 433,247 men and boys engaged in activities promoting gender equality and positive masculinities related to FGM 49,681 religious, community and traditional leaders publicly denounced FGM as a harmful practice.  3,663 communities established surveillance structures to monitor and report FGM cases.
31 January 2023

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2023

6 February 2023 marks the 12th anniversary of the ‘International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation’, established by the United Nations General Assembly in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The day provides the opportunity for Governments, Member States, civil society organizations, development partners, activists, and other relevant stakeholders to raise awareness, renew commitments and reiterate that female genital mutilation is an unacceptable harmful practice and a violation of women and girls’ basic human rights. With eight years remaining in this decade of action, there is potential in eliminating this harmful practice through sustainable partnerships with men and boys. The theme of the 2023 commemorations is “Partnership with Men and Boys to Transform Social and Gender Norms to End Female Genital Mutilation”. Today, men and boys are more educated and receptive to change than before, and in some countries, they are more likely to disapprove of female genital mutilation and domestic violence than women and girls. Partnering with men and boys, without detracting the focus from women and girls, ensures families, communities, institutions, and policy-makers support and invest in girls to promote the elimination of female genital mutilation. UNICEF calls on the global community to partner with men and boys and foster their engagement to accelerate the elimination of this harmful practice and uplift the voices of women and girls. You can find the advocacy flyer and key messages in English, French and Arabic to the right.
26 January 2023

What is female genital mutilation?

An estimated 230 million girls and women worldwide have undergone some form of female genital mutilation (FGM) – many before the age of 15. Despite being internationally recognized as a human rights violation, FGM persists for various reasons. No matter where or how it is performed, FGM causes extreme physical and psychological harm., What is FGM?, Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is most often carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15. In every form in which it is practiced, FGM is a violation of girls’ and women’s…, How is FGM a risk for girls and women?, FGM has no health benefits and can lead to serious, long-term complications and even death. Immediate health risks include haemorrhage, shock, infection, HIV transmission, urine retention and severe pain. Psychological impacts can range from a girl losing trust in her caregivers, to longer-term feelings of anxiety and depression. In adulthood,…, Why is FGM still practiced?, Numerous factors contribute to the persistence of the practice. Yet in every society in which it occurs, FGM is an expression of deeply rooted gender inequality. Some societies see it as a rite of passage. Others use it to suppress a girl’s sexuality or ensure her chastity. FGM is not endorsed by Islam or Christianity, but religious texts are…, How is FGM a human rights violation?, No matter how it is practiced, FGM is a violation of universal human rights principles. FGM violates the principles of equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex. It violates the right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. It violates the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the right to…, How prevalent is FGM?, While the exact number of girls and women to have undergone FGM worldwide remains unknown, at least 230 million girls and women from 31 countries across three continents have been subjected to the practice. UNFPA estimates that over 4 million girls are at risk of FGM each year. In 2021, an additional 2 million cases of FGM were predicted to occur…, Where is FGM most common?, Although FGM is declining in the majority of countries where it is most prevalent, progress eliminating the practice has been uneven. In some countries, FGM remains as common today as it was three decades ago. Over 90 per cent of women and girls aged 15 – 49 have undergone some form of genital mutilation in Guinea and Somalia., What is the medicalization of FGM?, An alarming trend in some countries is the medicalization of FGM, in which the procedure is carried out by a health-care provider. Approximately one in four FGM survivors – some 52 million women and girls worldwide – were subjected to FGM at the hands of health personnel. Medicalization not only violates medical ethics, but it also risks…, How are attitudes towards FGM evolving?, Girls’ and women’s attitudes about FGM vary widely across countries where the practice is prevalent, but opposition is mounting.  Around 400 million people in FGM-practicing countries in Africa and the Middle East – two thirds of the population – are against it. Education is a pivotal factor: Girls and women with primary education are 30 per cent…, What is UNICEF doing to stop FGM?, Eliminating FGM requires coordinated efforts that engage whole communities – young people, parents, religious leaders, civil society organizations, activists, medical personnel, educators and policymakers. One of the most effective ways to end FGM is through collective abandonment, in which an entire community chooses to forgo the practice. This…, What impact has UNICEF’s work had?, Since the establishment of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation , 13 countries have passed national legislation banning FGM. The programme has also helped more than 6 million girls and women receive prevention, protection and treatment services related to FGM. Some 45 million people in communities across…, Learn more about FGM, Hear stories from survivors