WHAT IS FGM ?
Female genital mutilation (FGM), is the “partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”. The practice of FGM is usually based in tradition. The practice brings no benefit, and can cause major health problems for women down the road. FGM is a violation of human rights, and millions of women and girls are already affected or at risk.
Currently, FGM is common in some communities in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The goal of the mutilation is different in every community, but it is always an example of gender inequality. In some areas, FGM is seen as a rite of passage to get girls or women ready for marriage. In other communities, it is used as a tactic to preserve a woman’s virginity and her fidelity in marriage. Some communities may even practice FGM for religious reasons. With a long history in tradition and religion, FGM proves difficult to eliminate.
FGM does not have any benefit to women, and can cause huge health problems for the rest of their lives. FGM practices can lead to extreme blood loss, infections, shock, and even death. Later in life, these women may face urinary problems, menstrual problems, sexual health issues, childbirth complications, and much more. The practice of FGM is helping no one, and only hurts the women affected. These women are being put at risk for no good reason.
Some doctors are even engaging in the practice of FGM. While this may be a safer alternative to people with no experience performing FGM, it is medically unethical and can still cause the same major health problems down the road. According to UNFPA, one in four victims of FGM were cut by a healthcare professional. Some doctors are incentivized by their own beliefs to perform FGM, some give in to societal pressures, and others may receive monetary compensation. While a sterile environment is better, FGM is never safe. The practice needs to be condemned, not medicalized.
In recent times, the World Health Organization has taken action to raise awareness and eliminate FGM globally. In 2012, the UN General Assembly enacted a resolution on the elimination of FGM. Now, in 2022, the WHO is releasing guidelines for research on FGM and woking to eliminate the practice and medicalization. With 3 million girls at risk worldwide, and 200 million girls alive that are already affected, the elimination of FGM is of the utmost importance.
girls are expected to be at risk of FGM