Engaging Boys and Men to End Female Genital Mutilation

External Resource

03/02/2025 12:00 am


Though female genital mutilation is often understood as a patriarchal norm oppressive to girls, it is not upheld by men alone. In most countries with data, men from practicing communities are just as likely as women to oppose female genital mutilation. Partnering with men and boys ensures families, communities, institutions, and policy-makers support and invest in promoting the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The report shares the latest data on the attitudes of boys and men towards female genital mutilation, with a particular focus on fathers of young girls, who are essential in halting the transmission of the practice into the next generation. It calls for boys and men to exert their influence in their families and communities, to support the effort to eliminate this harmful practice.

Female genital mutilation is a violation of human rights. Every girlmand woman has the right to be protected from this harmful practice,  a manifestation of entrenched gender inequality with devastating consequences. Female genital mutilation is now firmly on the global development agenda, most prominently in Sustainable Development Goal target 5.3, which aims to eliminate the practice by 2030.

Where female genital mutilation is practised, it is a longstanding tradition that is upheld by pressure to conform to societal expectations. Efforts to eliminate the practice have focused on challenging the norms that underlie this custom, through education, encouraging dialogue and facilitating community commitments for collective abandonment. In recent years, shifts in attitudes have become evident, with growing opposition in practising communities, especially among youth.

The social dynamics driving female genital mutilation are intrinsically gender-based, and the practice is driven by – and reinforces – norms that devalue girls. Yet, despite its patriarchal origins, the practice is not sustained by men alone. In many countries, men are just as likely as women to oppose the practice. Still, the potential influence of men in eliminating female genital mutilation is far from being realized. Men can play a pivotal role – whether as community members shaping societal expectations, as future husbands identifying qualities they prize in a partner, or as fathers welcoming daughters into the world and making the crucial decision of whether to continue the practice into the next generation. Boys and men can, and should, exert their influence in ending female genital mutilation

Read the full report here.

Leave a Comment


Download PDF

Related Resources