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International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is February 6!

Plan International USA is committed to ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), child marriage, and violence against girls worldwide. On February 6, we join with the international community to condemn FGM as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and call for an end to the practice.

FGM is often referred to as female circumcision, female cutting, and FGM. It comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons. According to the UN, the practice reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls. The practice also violates their rights to health, security, and physical integrity; their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; and their right to life when the procedure results in death.

Here are some key facts about FGM:

  • Globally, it is estimated that between 100 million to 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM. Most commonly FGM is carried out in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East. Nearly half of all the cut women in the world live in two African countries: Egypt and Ethiopia.
  • If current trends continue, 15 million additional girls between ages 15 and 19 will be subjected to it by 2030.
  • FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.
  • FGM cause severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections, and infertility, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
  • FGM is not connected to a single culture or religion; it is a harmful practice performed to control female sexuality.

To fight this harmful and violent practice, Plan carries out anti-FGM work in a number of countries in Africa and the Middle East. We organize events in communities and schools, educating people about the harmful consequences of FGM; support volunteers in communities to spread information and lobby with officials; and offer support for girls’ education, which can be an effective way of preventing child marriages and FGM.

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