UNICEF Releases Report on Female Genital Mutilation

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has released a new report that provides current information on female genital mutilation (FGM) and suggests solutions for putting an end to the violent practice. UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre’s report, entitled Changing a Harmful Social Convention: Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, reveals that FGM is practiced as often as it was ten years ago, with about three million women and girls subjected to cutting each year.

The report emphasizes the necessity of working with communities to change gender stereotypes that put women in a subservient position that is then reinforced by the mutilation. FGM is a term used to refer to the harmful practice of cutting or removing all or parts of the female genitals for non-medical reasons. Depending on the environment and type of procedure performed, FGM can cause sterility, birth complications, loss of sexual pleasure, and disease.

Emma Bonino, a member of the European Parliament who participated in the report’s launch last week, said, “Leadership is needed in the flight to eliminate the practice. Laws aren’t enough. What we need is international commitment and local commitment in order to really change things,” reports IRIN News.

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Feminist News Wire 7/1/05; IRIN News 11/28/05; UNICEF press release 11/23/05; UNICEF Innocenti Digest report

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