#ZeroFGM – The International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, on 6 February each year, is a time to make the world aware of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
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. 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.
According to the United Nations, over 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM, while about 86 million additional girls worldwide will be subjected to the practice by 2030, if current trends continue.
There are no known health benefits to FGM/C, and in fact the practice causes many risks to the sexual and reproductive health of victims, when it does not cause death. However, the practice continues as it is deeply rooted in cultural norms, usually representing adulthood and considered a necessary rite of passage and a prerequisite for marriage, which is in turn an integral part of social acceptance in many local cultures.
The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. However, more than 18% of all FGM is performed by health care providers, and the trend towards medicalization is increasing. Thus, recognizing the importance of engaging health workers in the effort to end FGM, the 2015 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation will be marked under the theme “Mobilization and Involvement of Health Personnel to Accelerate Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation”.
Since 2011, AWEPA has been working in collaboration with UNFPA and UNICEF towards the abandonment of FGM/C in the context of the Joint Programme Female Genital Mutilation: Accelerating Change.