Prevalence and Legal Status of Female Genital Mutilation in the MENA Region

Click here to download our research paper on the prevalence and legal status of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the MENA region.

FGM continues to be a widely performed procedure in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East despite being banned through some type of legislation in 24 of these countries. Girls and women in the Arab World are still falling victim to FGM even when the practice is banned in 6 of the top 7 countries with the highest prevalence of FGM, and penalised in 5 of those 7 countries. Over 50 million girls and women have undergone the procedure in the Middle East and North Africa, and the numbers could be rising due to the pandemic-related disruptions affecting programs advocating for women’s rights and social services providing help to vulnerable women. Ending FGM is not only reliant on changes in the legal arena and the sociocultural and religious beliefs of the population, but also the Arabic-speaking media coverage of the severe consequences of FGM on girls and women. Providing the relevant appropriate education aiming to end the control over women’s bodies under the mask of ‘honour ’is essential to the fight against FGM. It is hoped that the bans on FGM are not just law on paper that does very little in practice to improve the health and lives of millions of girls and women in the Middle East and North Africa.


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