Female Genital Mutilation Is Also A European Issue

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Feb 27, 2024 - 09:15 AM

At least 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation worldwide, with some 600,000 survivors estimated to be living in Europe alone, according to the End FGN European Network.

The terms female genital mutilation (FGM) and female genital cutting (FGC) are often used interchangeably. The latter is preferred in order to promote dialogue and collaboration across cultural contexts due to being less judgemental and disrespectful of communities that use the practice, while also encompassing a wider range of surgeries. The term FGM stresses the harmful nature of the practice, which according to the WHO, has no health benefits.

The following map, via Statista's Anna Fleck, is based on End FGN’s estimations, drawn from a number of reports published between 2015 and 2020. According to the network, data on the topic in Europe is lacking and different surveys can be hard to compare due to differing methodologies.

Infographic: Female Genital Mutilation Is Also a European Issue | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Of the data that does exist, analysts suspect the United Kingdom to have the highest number of FGM/C survivors in Europe, with 137,000 cases calculated as of 2020. Other countries with relatively high numbers of cases are France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.

FGM/C is carried out in most regions around the world. According to the FGM/C Research Initiative, prevalence is particularly high in a number of sub-Saharan countries, although to varying degrees. For example, Somalia records a prevalence rate of 99 percent while Uganda is just 0.3 percent. It's important to note that prevalence varies considerably within countries, and as a practice specific to different ethnic communities, can cross national borders.

Rates are also high in parts of Asia, including Malaysia (83-85 percent), Indonesia (49 percent) and among the Bohra community in India (75 percent). In the Middle East, the FGM/C Research Initiative also highlights Iraqi Kurdistan (42.8 percent) and Kuwait (38 percent), while noting that prevalence can be high among diaspora populations around the world too.

Although the UN reports that the number of cases of FGM have seen a significant decline across 31 countries with nationally representative prevalence data over the past three decades, the organization stresses that this progress is far from uniform, with some countries also not achieving it.

The state of FGM/C has limited data in other countries, but campaigners are confident that education and awareness on the topic is increasing, as Carlien Scheele, Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality, explains: “EIGE’s latest estimations of the number of girls at risk of FGM show that legislation and campaigns work. The absolute number of girls at risk has gotten bigger because there are more girls from FGM-practising countries living in the EU, but affected communities are increasingly opposed to the practice and frequently lead efforts to eliminate it.”