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Ending Harmful Practices

Harmful practices involve forms of gendered violence or ritual discrimination that have become culturally normalized, such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. These practices are usually deeply rooted in culture, religion, or tradition, affording them a prevalence that affects women and girls in every part of the world.

The challenge

Harmful practices involve a violation of international human rights law, as the right to culture and freedom of religion cannot limit the fundamental right to equality and non-discrimination. Despite the UN calling for the worldwide elimination of all harmful practices by 2030, many countries still do not have adequate laws and policies in place to protect women and girls.

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Jenny – US

FGM/C is widely known to take place amongst diaspora communities in the United States. Less known are the stories of FGM/C oc…

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Women’s Rights & Climate Change: Laila Amili – Morocco

At the United Nations 2022 Climate Change Conference in Egypt, there are mounting calls for women to be guaranteed a principa…

Our response

We lead global campaigns against harmful practices, pushing for states to enact and implement effective laws and to be held accountable to their international obligations. 

Collaborating with our network of regional partners, we strengthen grassroots efforts by amplifying the voices of local activists to leaders, policymakers, and citizens everywhere.

Explore our work to end harmful practices

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The Global Movement to End FGM

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is internationally recognized as a gross violation of human rights, a form of violence agains...

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Ending Female Genital Mutilation in Africa

FGM is prevalent in 28 countries in Africa. Dedicated activism has resulted in the decline of this harmful practice over the ...

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Amplifying the Voices of Survivors of Child Marriage in Georgia

Though many in Georgia may consider child marriage to be a thing of the past, a 2018 UNICEF report found that among women in ...

Our impact

We change and defend laws

We use strategic litigation to hold governments around the world accountable for their obligations to fully protect women and girls against female genital mutilation (FGM).

In 2021, we helped successfully defend anti-FGM law in Kenya following a High Court challenge to the constitutionality of the Prohibition of the Female Genital Mutilation Act, 2011. This case alone will secure protection for hundreds of thousands of women and girls.

We promote collaboration

We champion a collaborative approach to ending all harmful practices, convening and supporting key state and non-state actors while also strengthening grassroots efforts.

In 2022, we published a landmark report on the success to date of the multi-sectoral approach against FGM in Africa, to encourage best practice and facilitate its adoption by others. We have supported 23 African countries to adopt a multi-sectoral approach to FGM.

We make evident the global reality of FGM

We ensure the voices and stories of survivors everywhere are heard and acted upon by leaders, policy makers, the UN, law enforcement officials and the general public.

In 2020, we published a report showing FGM being practiced 92 countries, highlighting cases in countries such US, Iran and Singapore where the issue is little known or ignored. This has contributed to a shift in approach towards addressing FGM as a global issue with the report being cited by the UN Secretary General and in UN strategies to end FGM.

News and resources

Read the latest news and insights

Gender Equality in Progress: Equality Now at the 56th UN Human Rights Council

July 9, 2024

What is the United Nations Human Rights Council?  The Human Rights Council is responsible for strengthening the promotio...

Where you’ll find Equality Now at the Fifth Session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean

June 27, 2024

The Regional Conference on Population and Development of Latin America and the Caribbean will convene its fifth session in Ca...

Day of the African Child: Spotlighting our partners across Africa

June 16, 2024

Those who are best placed to address gender inequality are often the people whom it most profoundly affects and who understan...

Browse our key resources

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Ending Child Marriage in Eastern and Southern Africa: Challenges in Implementing Domestic Laws and the SADC Model Law on Child Marriage

22 August 2023

The Eastern and Southern African region has some of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, with an estimated 31% o...

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Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Call For A Global Response

17 March 2020

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is internationally recognized as a gross violation of human rights, a form of viole...

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Courage: Survivors of child marriage in Georgia share their stories

07 December 2020

This publication tells the stories of seven women, victims of violence, who were forced to marry as children. Some were able ...

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Reporting on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – Global Edition

27 September 2022

This toolkit is for media professionals. It provides guidelines on how to report on female genital mutilation (FGM) in a gend...

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Use of the Multi-Sectoral Approach to Ending Gender-Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation in Africa

23 March 2022

Gender-based violence (GBV) often referred to as “violence against women” is considered as any harmful act that is perpet...

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I need the ERA because...a girl is not a wife - Child marriage

26 August 2022

It is estimated by Unchained at Last that about 300,000 children were married in the United States between 2000 and 2018, the...

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Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Canada

27 April 2023

FGM/C is a traditional harmful practice that involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other inju...

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I need the ERA because... I have the right to bodily integrity - FGM

26 August 2022

Despite the prevalence of the practice in the USA and the persisting risk to many women and girls, 20% of American states do ...

Voices and stories

Learn from the people we work with

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Masooma - India

Masooma Ranalvi is the founder of WeSpeakOut, an organization working to end FGM/C in India. My mutilation happened when I wa...

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Ngalali - Tanzania

When Ngalali, a member of the Massai people in Tanzania, was 13, she made a decision that saved her life. Thanks to the enfor...

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Habiba - Oman

Habiba al Hinai is an Omani women’s rights activist, and Founder and Executive Director of the Omani Associa...

What you can do

Changing the world begins when people like you speak out against injustice. Find out more about how you can get involved with our work today.

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