International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

2023 Theme: “Accelerating Investment to End FGM”

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was officially declared a “Zero Tolerance Public Health Issue” on February 6th 2012. Internationally, FGM  is recognised as an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls. The act reflects deep-seated inequalities between the sexes. In nearly all cases, it is performed on minors, infringing their rights. Additionally, the procedure violates the rights of health, security, and physical integrity, along with the right to be free from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. 

A key theme for this year’s conference is “Accelerating Investment to End FGM,” calling for more support for programs that provide services and provide responses to those affected and at risk, creating laws, and bolstering institutions for the elimination of this practice.

The late pioneer of African Cinema(s) filmmaker, Ousmane Sembene dedicated an activist film entitled, Moolaade (2004) which speaks of community activism in ending a painful procedure young girls undergo in Senegal under the traditional lore. The film mirrors female circumcision in Africa. 23% of women in Senegal aged 15-49 continue the practice. 

Liberia has led the way for reaching zero tolerance for female genital mutilation while the Republic of Djibouti lags behind, with 78% of girls and women subjected to the practice to date. Moreover, the United Nations report that over 3 million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation each year. There is still a significant amount of work to be done to put an end to female genital mutilation.