Female genital mutilation, also known as FGM, is the intentional cutting or removal of a female’s external genitalia, most commonly the labia and clitoris. The World Health Organization defines it as a non-medical procedure that injures the female genital organs. This inhumane practice has no health benefits and is a violation of human rights.
FGM is a manifestation of deep-seated discrimination between men and women. It is considered a violation of children’s rights because it is performed on girls between the ages of infancy and fifteen. More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to the practice, and more than 3 million girls are at risk annually.
The practice is concentrated in Africa’s Western, Eastern, and North-Eastern regions. It is also present in some parts of the Middle East and Asia, which is why FGM is a worldwide concern.
FGM is performed for a variety of reasons, including social acceptance, religion, and the preservation of a female’s virginity. It is regarded as a rite of passage into adulthood, to make the woman “marriable.” FGM is linked to cultural ideals of femininity, with the idea that girls are clean and beautiful after having their genitalia removed.
FGM has physical, psychological, and social consequences. Excessive bleeding, infection, wound healing issues, and, in the worst-case scenario, death, are all immediate health risks for girls who have undergone FGM. Long-term complications include urinary and vaginal problems, an increased risk of childbirth, menstrual problems, and so on. It also causes psychological trauma, such as behavioural problems in children, trust issues with adults, anxiety, depression, and so on.
Though it is a cultural practice, it is an inhumane act that violates a person’s basic human rights without their consent.