Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. UNICEF estimated in 2016 that 200 million women had undergone the procedures in 27 countries in Africa.
According to Equality Now, Grassroots organizations in FGM practicing countries are working hard within their communities to eradicate this practice. Equality Now supports the work of grassroots groups to end FGM and in particular focuses on the enactment and effective implementation of legislation against FGM in relevant countries.
American politician, and senior United States Senator from Nevada Harry Reid shared his opinion on Facebook:
'It has been more than 20 years since I learned about female genital mutilation. Ever since then, I have spoken out continually against this awful procedure and the devastating effect it has on women and girls around the world. It’s hard to talk about, but we can’t keep ignoring this issue.
This horrific practice is a form of control and oppression of women and girls. In addition to the psychological impact, this gender-based violence has serious medical risks, including death.
I worked hard to pass legislation outlawing the practice in the United States and banning so-called 'vacation cutting.' There was widespread bipartisan support for those efforts in Congress, and I was able to win that fight.
Still, this brutal practice continues around the world. It is estimated that at least 200 million women and girls worldwide have undergone genital mutilation.
It is a shame that our government isn’t doing more. It is inexcusable that the United States – a nation with wealth and power – is standing by while such sickening brutality is occurring.
I call on the State Department and USAID to make ending female genital mutilation a priority and dedicate substantial resources to this cause. The United States can and must do everything in its power to eliminate this practice worldwide.'
This brutal practice continues as well as in Indonesia, Iraqi Kurdistan and Yemen, with a rate of 80–98 percent within the 15–49 age group in Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan.
The practice is also found elsewhere in Asia, the Middle East, and among communities from these areas around the world.