WHO Factsheet: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Posted by Nicole Moran on February 6, 2020 at 11:22 am



The 6th of February marks International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. To raise further awareness about this harmful practice and in an effort to eliminate its prevalence, we are sharing the WHO’s factsheet about FGM.

Key facts about FGM:

  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
  • The practice has no health benefits for girls and women.
  • FGM can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
  • More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated (1).
  • FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.
  • FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
  • WHO is opposed to all forms of FGM, and is opposed to health care providers performing FGM (medicalization of FGM).
  • Treatment of health complications of FGM in 27 high prevalence countries costs 1.4 billion USD per year.

Types of FGM

Female genital mutilation is classified into 4 major types.

  • Type 1:  this is the partial or total removal of the clitoral glans (the external and visible part of the clitoris, which is a sensitive part of the female genitals), and/or the prepuce/ clitoral hood (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoral glans).
  • Type 2:  this is the partial or total removal of the clitoral glans and the labia minora (the inner folds of the vulva), with or without removal of the labia majora (the outer folds of skin of the vulva ).
  • Type 3: Also known as infibulation, this is the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora, sometimes through stitching, with or without removal of the clitoral prepuce/clitoral hood and glans (Type I FGM).
  • Type 4: This includes all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.

Deinfibulation refers to the practice of cutting open the sealed vaginal opening of a woman who has been infibulated, which is often necessary for improving health and well-being as well as to allow intercourse or to facilitate childbirth.

To read the full factsheet, please click the following link


Related posts