Sexual and reproductive health

Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation

Mother and father with their young daughthers in front of their home in a village of Sierra Leone.
UNICEF/Asselin

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. In many settings, health care providers perform FGM in the erroneous belief that the procedure is safer when medicalized. WHO and other UN partners strongly urge health professionals not to perform such procedures.

WHO joins the world in marking the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

Women in Egypt hold up their hands in the 'peace' sign, during a session on the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation.
UNICEF/Pirozzi
Women in Egypt hold up their hands in the 'peace' sign, during a session on the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation.

6 Feb 2016: WHO joins organizations and people worldwide to mark this year’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and to stand in solidarity against this practice.

New study highlights need for more research on female genital mutilation (FGM)

Mali, Social worker counsels a girl who was subjected to FGM
UNICEF/Pirozzi
Mali, Social worker counsels a girl who was subjected to FGM

December 2014. A study, published in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG) calls for further evidence on how to improve the care of women living with female genital mutilation (FGM). Conducted by WHO and the Geneva University Hospital, this study highlights that more than 125 million girls and women have been subjected to FGM and at least three million girls remain at risk every year. This paper reviews the existing evidence on obstetric outcomes, surgical interventions, and skills and training of health care professionals involved in the prevention and management of FGM and identifies future priority research areas.

Female genital mutilation (FGM)