What is Female genitial Mutilation? KNOW ALL ABOUT IT

 “ What is Female genitial Mutilation? KNOW ALL ABOUT IT”

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the non-medical removal of part or all of a female’s external genitalia or other harm to the female genital organs. For girls and women, the practise has no health benefits. FGM can result in severe bleeding and urinary issues, as well as cysts, infections, difficulty during childbirth, and a higher chance of infant mortality. FGM is a violation of girls’ and women’s human rights.

Traditional practitioners perform the majority of the procedure. Evidence suggests that health care personnel are more involved in conducting FGM in different settings, owing to the idea that medicalizing the process makes it safer.

Internationally, female genital mutilation (FGM) is considered a violation of girls’ and women’s human rights. It is an extreme kind of discrimination against girls and women, and it represents deep-seated gender inequality. It is almost always performed on minors and is a violation of their rights. In cases where the surgery results in death, it also violates a person’s right to health, security, and physical integrity; the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; and the right to life.


FGM is most commonly performed on young girls between infancy and adolescence, and on adult women on rare cases. In 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia where FGM is performed, more than 200 million girls and women are alive today who have undergone FGM. FGM is most commonly performed on young girls between the ages of two and fifteen. Annually, more than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk of FGM. As a result, FGM is a global challenge. 

Why is FGM practiced?

FGM is a strongly entrenched social norm founded in gender inequity in many of the nations where it is practised, where violence against girls and women is socially acceptable.

The reasons for this behaviour differ. It is viewed as a rite of passage into femininity in certain circumstances, while it is viewed as a means of suppressing a woman’s sexuality in others. Many cultures perform genital mutilation in the hopes of ensuring a girl’s future marriage or family honour. Although no religious scriptures prescribe it, some people equate it with religious views.

Types of FGM

Female genital mutilation is classified into four categories:

  • Type 1: The clitoral glans (the external and visible portion of the clitoris, which is a sensitive part of the female genitals) and/or the prepuce/clitoral hood are partially or completely removed (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoral glans).

  • Type 2: The clitoral glans and labia minora (the inner folds of the vulva) are partially or completely removed, with or without the labia majora (the outer folds of skin of the vulva).

  • Type 3: The narrowing of the vaginal opening by the formation of a covering seal is also known as infibulation. With or without removing the clitoral prepuce/clitoral hood and glans, the seal is made by cutting and repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora, occasionally through stitching.

  • Type 4: This covers all other non-medical treatments  that injure the female genital area, such as pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, and cauterising.

Are there health benefits to FGM?

FGM is harmful to girls and women in various ways and has no health benefits. It entails removing and damaging healthy and normal female vaginal tissue, as well as interfering with girls’ and women’s bodies’ natural functioning. Despite the fact that all forms of FGM are linked to an elevated risk of health issues, the risk is higher with more severe forms of FGM.

FGM can cause immediate complications such as:

  • Extreme discomfort

  • Blood loss (haemorrhage)

  • Swollen genital tissue

  • Fever

  • Infection, for example, tetanus

  • Urinary issues

  • Issues with wound healing

  • Harm to the genital tissue in the area

  • Shock

  • Death

The following are a list of long-term complications:

  • Urinary issues (painful urination, infections of the urinary tract);

  • Discharge, irritation, bacterial vaginosis, and various infections in the vaginal area;

  • Problems with menstruation (painful periods, difficulty passing menstrual blood, etc. );

  • Keloid and scar tissue;

  • Sexual issues (pain during intercourse, low satisfaction, and so on);

  • Complications of labour (difficult delivery, severe bleeding, caesarean section, need to resuscitate the infant, etc.) and newborn deaths are more probable;

  • Later procedures may be required, for example, if the vaginal entrance is sealed or narrowed (Type 3), it may be necessary to cut open the sealed vagina later to allow for sexual intercourse and deliveries (deinfibulation). When vaginal tissue is patched several times, especially after childbirth, the woman is subjected to multiple opening and closing procedures, increasing both immediate and long-term risks;

  • Psychological problems (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, etc.).

Cultural and social factors of FGM

FGM is performed for a variety of causes that vary by region and time, and involve a number of sociocultural elements within families and communities.

  • Where FGM is a social convention (social norm), the social pressure to comply to what others do and have done, as well as the desire to be accepted socially and the fear of rejection by the community, are powerful motivators to continue the practise.

  • FGM is frequently seen as an important part of a girl’s upbringing and a way to prepare her for maturity and marriage.

  • FGM is frequently motivated by preconceived notions about what constitutes acceptable sexual behaviour. Its goal is to ensure marital fidelity and premarital virginity.

  • FGM is more likely to be carried out in areas where it is believed that it improves marriageability.

  • FGM is linked to cultural values of femininity and modesty, such as the belief that girls are clean and attractive after having dirty, unfeminine, or male body parts removed.

  • Although no religious scriptures dictate the practise, some people believe it has religious significance.

  • Religious leaders take a variety of perspectives on FGM: some support it, some believe it is unrelated to religion, and yet others advocate for its abolition.

  • Local power and authority structures, such as community leaders, religious leaders, circumcisers, and even some medical workers, can all play a role in maintaining the practise. They can also be effective advocates for the abolition of FGM if they are well-informed.

  • FGM is considered a cultural tradition in most societies where it is practised, which is sometimes offered as a reason for its continued practise.

Medicalized FGM

FGM is performed for a variety of reasons by health-care providers. These are some of them:

  • The idea that medicalized FGM is connected with a lower risk of problems than non-medicalized FGM.

  • The assumption that medicalized FGM could be the first step toward its complete abolition.

  • FGM health care providers are also part of FGM-practicing communities and are subject to the same societal standards.

  • There could be a monetary incentive to carry out the procedure.

FGM is a violation of children’s rights as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The harmful effects of FGM on children’s development are incompatible with the child’s best interests. It also infringes on the girls’ freedom to freely express themselves because it is done without their consent. Even if the girl child is aware of the practise, consent is still an issue because girls are normally too young to be consulted and have no say in the decisions made on their behalf by family members. Adolescent girls and women, on the other hand, frequently agree to FGM because they fear rejection from their communities, families, and peers. Because it includes the mutilation of healthy bodily parts, FGM has an impact on the right to dignity and directly contradicts with the right to physical integrity.


  1. https://www.endfgm.eu/female-genital-mutilation/what-is-fgm/

  2. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/female-genital-mutilation#:~:text=Female%20genital%20mutilation%20(FGM)%20involves,organs%20for%20non%2Dmedical%20reasons.

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