International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2023: Date, Theme, History, Significance & More

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is celebrated on 6 February to spread awareness and educate people about the problems females faced due to genital mutilation. Do you know what is female genital mutilation and its consequences? What is the theme of 2023? Let us find out!
Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation

This day spread awareness about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which is a violation of the human rights of girls and women. No doubt, it reflects inequality between the sexes and accounts for a form of discrimination against women. Let us tell you that mostly it is carried out on minors. It not only violates a person's rights to health, security, and physical integrity but also the cruel, inhuman, and right to life when procedures result in death.

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2023: Theme

The theme for 2023 is “Partnership with Men and Boys to transform Social and gender Norms to End FGM”.

The main aim of the day is to end Female Genital Mutilation in one decade and it will require support from every quarter, especially youth. Therefore, the theme focuses on mobilizing youth around the elimination of harmful practices, including female genital mutilation.

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation: History

Against the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), WHO in 1997 issued a joint statement together with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Since then several efforts were made to counteract FGM.

- The Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting was initiated by UNFPA and UNICEF in 2007 to accelerate the abandonment of the practice.

- A statement is issued by WHO together with 9 other United Nations partners in 2008 about the elimination of FGM by calling “Eliminating female genital mutilation: an interagency statement”.

- WHO in 2010 published a "Global strategy to stop health care providers from performing female genital mutilation" in collaboration with other key UN agencies and international organisations.

- The UN General Assembly in 2012 adopted a resolution A/RES/67/14 on the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

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What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?

Female genital mutilation is also sometimes known as circumcision in which the external female genitalia are removed partially or completely or another injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Mainly, it is done between infancy and the age of 15. Adult women may also undergo the procedure.

FGM is performed mainly in Africa, particularly in North-Eastern, Eastern and Western Africa. It also takes place in the Middle East, in South-East Asia and among immigrants in Europe.

According to WHO, the procedures of female genital mutilation is classified into 4 major types:

Type 1: It is known as clitoridectomy. In this type, the clitoris is partially or totally removed which is a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals. In very rare cases only the prepuce that is the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris is removed.

Type 2: It is known as excision. In this clitoris is partially or totally removed and the labia minora that is the inner folds of the vulva, with or without excision of the labia majora, the outer folds of skin of the vulva.

Type 3: It is known as infibulation. In this process, the vaginal opening is narrowed through the creation of a covering seal.

Type 4: It consists of all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for a non-medical purpose. Like pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.

Consequences of Female Genital Mutilation

 Let us tell you that FGM does not have any health benefits. It just harms girls and women in various ways. It interferes with the natural functions of girls and women's bodies. It is removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue.

After the procedure, the effects often occur immediately and may cause severe bleeding, infections, tetanus, paralysis of the bladder or blood poisoning and can even result in death. It also transmits AIDS/HIV due to the use of dirty instruments. 

Sometimes the victim may face psychological trauma, loss of sexual sensation, long-term pain while urinating and during menstruation, scar tissue and keloid, sexual problems, increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths, etc.

Female Genital Mutilation: Facts

- According to UNFPA, the cost of preventing female genital mutilation is $95 per girl today.

- Female genital mutilation is prevalent in mostly 30 countries experiencing high population growth with at least 30% of girls undergoing female population under the age of 15.

- According to WHO, more than 200 million girls and women faced genital mutilation in 30 countries including Africa, the Middle East, and Asia and are alive today.


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