Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. Increasingly, however, FGM is being performed by health care providers.
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
- The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
- Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
- An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.
- It is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15 years.
- In Africa an estimated 92 million girls from 10 years of age and above have undergone FGM.
- FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.
WHO FGM Factsheet, February 2010
Fistula and FGM
A great deal of debate surrounds the role of FGM in obstetric Fistula. The following links give information on this subject:
Resources - links between fistula and FGM:
FGM in the News: