The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is observed on February 6th every year. The day aims to raise awareness about the harmful practice of FGM and to promote its eradication worldwide. Female genital mutilation is a severe violation of women’s human rights and has no medical benefits. In this article, we will discuss FGM, its impact on women’s health, and the efforts made to eliminate it.
What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?
Female genital mutilation refers to the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice is most common in Africa, the Middle East, and some parts of Asia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 200 million girls and women have undergone FGM globally. FGM is often performed on girls between infancy and age 15, and the practice is deeply rooted in culture and tradition.
What are the types of FGM?
There are four types of FGM recognized by the World Health Organization:
- Type 1 (Clitoridectomy): Partial or total removal of the clitoris.
- Type 2 (Excision): Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the inner labia.
- Type 3 (Infibulation): Narrowing of the vaginal opening by creating a seal, usually by cutting and repositioning the labia majora and/or the inner labia across the vaginal opening.
- Type 4: All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, such as pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, and cauterization.
What are the health consequences of FGM?
FGM can have serious and long-term health consequences for girls and women. Immediate complications can include severe pain, bleeding, infections, and even death. Long-term consequences can include recurrent infections, painful menstrual periods, sexual dysfunction, and complications during childbirth. FGM can also lead to psychological trauma and emotional distress.
Efforts to Eliminate FGM:
Several international organizations, including the United Nations, have taken steps to eradicate FGM. In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly designated February 6th as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. The day aims to raise awareness about the harmful practice of FGM and to promote its eradication worldwide. Additionally, many countries have banned FGM and enacted laws to punish those who perform the procedure.
Q. Why is FGM practiced?
A. FGM is often performed for cultural and religious reasons. It is believed to ensure purity, virginity, and obedience in women.
Q. Is FGM legal?
A. FGM is illegal in many countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Q. Can FGM be reversed?
A. There is no known way to reverse the effects of FGM.
Q. What can I do to help eliminate FGM?
A. You can raise awareness about FGM, support organizations working to eradicate the practice, and advocate for laws that criminalize FGM.
FGM is a severe violation of women’s human rights and has no medical benefits. It can have serious and long-term health consequences for girls and women. Efforts to eradicate FGM have made progress in recent years, but more work needs to be done. On the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, let us raise awareness about the harmful practice of FGM and work towards its elimination.