Female Genital Mutilation

A woman may undergo several types of female genital mutilation to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Some methods are more painful than others. Vaginal stapling is one of the most common and involves cutting out the clitoris and labia minora and attaching them together using sutures. This process results in a narrow opening in the vagina, allowing for menstruation. Other forms of FGM are unclassified and include pricking and incision of the labia.

While the practice has been around for more than a thousand years, it is unlikely to disappear in a single generation. The United Nations, however, hopes that full eradication can occur by 2030. The Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting, led by UNICEF and UNFPA, is the largest global programme to end the practice. This joint programme focuses on 17 countries in Africa and supports regional initiatives to end the practice.

Last Line

The UN’s Office for the Prevention of Child Marriage and Unsafe Surgical Procedures (UNICEF) is a good place to start. You can also look at the statistics on female genital mutilation in Nigeria and Somalia. The World Bank and the United Nations have also published reports on the issue. For more information on the issue, read these articles: The Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices and the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation.

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