Abida and her child live in Ethiopia’s Afar Region. In Afar, prevalence of female genital mutilation has fallen sharply — down to 31% in some districts — in areas where the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM is supporting community-led interventions. Photo: Sara Elgamal for UNFPA
FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children.
The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.
In first person: “A piece of me”
“A Piece of Me” is a UNFPA campaign, celebrating three survivors of female genital mutilation (FGM) with the aim to spread awareness to end FGM. Shot like a fashion film in the desert of the Afar region of Ethiopia with captivating images and colours – showcasing Zahra, Abida and Khadija our three survivors, the filmmaker, Sara Elgamal, celebrates the strength and story of these women.
Female genital mutilation is a gross violation of the human rights of women and girls.
Over 200 million women and girls alive today have experienced female genital mutilation in 30 countries across three continents.
Without concerted, accelerated action, a further 68 million girls could be subjected to this harmful practice by 2030.
With strong political engagement, we are seeing success in several countries. But this progress is not enough to keep up with population growth. Unless we act now, the number of cases will continue to rise.
Sustainable development cannot be achieved without full respect for the human rights of women and girls. Sustainable Development Goal 5, with a focus on gender equality, calls for the elimination of female genital mutilation by 2030.
Together with the European Union, the United Nations has launched the Spotlight Initiative, a global, multi-year undertaking that aims to create strong partnerships and align efforts to end all forms of violence against women and girls, including female genital mutilation.
With the dignity, health and well-being of millions of girls at stake, there is no time to waste. Together, we can and must end this harmful practice.