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6 February 2023 marks the 12th anniversary of the ‘International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation’, established by the United Nations General Assembly in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The day is set to provide the opportunity for governments, member states and other relevant stakeholders to raise awareness, and emphasize that female genital mutilation is an unacceptable harmful practice and a violation of women and girls’ basic human rights.

The commemorations will be marked under the theme, “Partnership with Men and Boys to Transform Social and Gender Norms to End Female Genital Mutilation.”

What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

It reflects the neverending inequality between the sexes, that amounts to an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls.

The practice also violates their rights to health, security and physical integrity, their right to be free from torture and inhuman treatment, also their right to life when the procedure results in death.


To promote the abandonment of FGM, coordinated and systematic efforts are needed.

It also entails engaging communities and focusing on gender equality and human rights.

These efforts should emphasize societal dialogue and the empowerment of communities to act in unison to end the practice.

There is also need to address the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls who suffer from the consequences of this inhuman act.

Key Facts

Globally, it is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM.

If current trends continue, 15 million additional girls between ages 15 and 19 will be subjected to it by 2030. FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.

In Kenya, statistics show that 27% of women aged 15-49 have undergone some form of FGM.

By Stella Anyango


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