Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C)

Source - © 2012 Paolo Pangui/HORIZON JEUNE/Cameroon Youth Network, Courtesy of Photoshare. Description - Adolescents show solidarity in the fight against female genital cutting in Foumbot, a small rural community in the West region of Cameroon.

The practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) harms the physical, psychological, and reproductive and sexual health of women and is a violation of women's fundamental human rights. More than 125 million girls and women alive today have experienced FGM/C, and an additional three million girls are at risk of being cut in the next decade (UNICEF 2013).

This course will provide learners with an overview of FGM/C and examples of interventions that have worked—as well as those that have not worked—to encourage the abandonment of the practice.

Objective

At the end of this course, learners will be able to do the following:

  • Define female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), describe the different types, and understand the affected population and the reasons for the practice
  • Understand the global prevalence of FGM/C
  • Describe the socio-economic factors contributing to the prevalence rates
  • Identify the immediate and long-term health complications from FGM/C
  • Identify human rights legal instruments that can be used in advocacy efforts to eliminate FGM/C 
  • Learn from successful country-led initiatives and case studies about the critical programmatic elements that encourage abandonment of FGM/C

Credits

The course authors would like to thank the following reviewers for their contributions to the first version of this course, which was published in October 2008: Gannon Gillespie, TOSTAN; Sandra Jordan, USAID; and Laura Raney, formerly with Population Council.

The course authors would like to especially thank and acknowledge Sandra Jordan, USAID, for her valuable assistance and insights into the updating of the course, and Charlotte Feldman Jacobs, PRB, for the updated statistics.