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Female Genital Mutilation

Topics Covered: Women related issues.

Female Genital Mutilation

What to study?

For Prelims: Meaning and where is it practiced?

For Mains: Prevention, challenges, need for and ways.

Context: Every year, February 6 is observed as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

What is Female Genital Mutilation?

It is the name given to procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical or cultural reasons, and is recognised internationally as a violation of human rights and the health and integrity of girls and women.


WHO classifies four types of FGM:

  1. type 1 (partial or total removal of the clitoral glans).
  2. type 2 (partial or total removal of the external and visible parts of the clitoris and the inner folds of the vulva).
  3. type 3 (infibulation, or narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal).
  4. type 4 (picking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterising the genital area).

Where is it practiced?
Most girls and women who have undergone FGM live in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab States, but it is also practiced in some countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Countries where FGM is performed include Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Egypt, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Iran, Georgia, Russian Federation, Columbia and Peru, among others.

Why prevent FGM?

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, over 200 million girls alive today have suffered FGM in over 30 countries. The economic costs of treating health complications arising out of FGM amount to roughly $1.4 billion for 2018 for 27 countries where FGM is performed. If the prevalence remains the same, the amount is expected to rise up to $2.3 billion by 2047.

Sources: Indian Express.