Female Genital Mutilations and Why They are Still Being Performed


Image: who.int

Amna Osman has more than 15 years of experience as a public health administration executive. A staunch advocate of women, Amna Osman is a leader of women-focused initiatives dealing with female genital mutilation.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to surgical procedures that are intended to remove, change, or injure a female’s sex organs for non-medical purposes. These procedures are common in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The World Health Organization estimates that over 200 million women are currently living with the consequences of FGM.

Why is it being done? There are many reasons, but in many cultural traditions, FGM is considered a rite of passage as a girl is being prepared to transition to womanhood. Some traditions continue to uphold it because it is believed that it will decrease the possibility of a woman engaging in illicit affairs, as it will decrease libido.

Female genital mutilation is a reflection of a deep-seated gender inequality in the areas where it is practiced and is considered a violation of human rights. However, recent studies have shown that the number of girls who have to endure this cutting is dwindling. Through an initiative of the UN, which has been active in promoting health and human rights in many African regions, around 8,000 African communities have agreed to abandon the practice.


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