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

An illustration of a number of people with their hand outstretched in front of them

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is internationally recognized as a gross violation of human rights, a form of violence against women and girls, and a manifestation of gender inequality.

The importance of eliminating FGM/C is recognized within Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), dedicated to achieving gender equality. Target 5.3 under this goal requires all 193 countries that signed onto the SDGs to take action to “eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation”.

With only seven years left to eradicate this widespread and harmful practice affecting millions of women and girls globally by 2030, the time to take stock and accelerate action is now.

This report, released in March 2020 in partnership with the End FGM European Network and the US End FGM/C Network, calls for global action to end the practice.* **

UPDATE: In 2024, new statistics were released by UNICEF showing 230 million women and girls around the world are affected by FGM, a 15% increase or 30 million more girls and women being subjected to FGM, compared to the data released eight years ago. This figure now includes data on FGM prevalence in Asia (80 million), the Middle East (6 million), and countries that have small practicing communities and are destination countries for migration (1-2 million).

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An illustration of a number of people with their hand outstretched in front of them, with the text FGM/C is global but so is the movement to end it

*The report titled ‘An Understanding of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation): Women of the ‘Bohra Community’ who are circumcised and its Socio-sexual Effects,’ by Huda Syyed was published in 2019 and not 2018. It ought to have been cited as Syyed (2019) on pages 33 and 55.

**For Russia, the last line on page 33 which notes that ‘Based on birth statistics, a total of 1,240 girls every year were estimated to be at risk of being subjected to FGM/C’ ought to have been cited to Antonova and Siradzhudinova (2018).