Lead Author: MCCAULEY Mary
Co-Author(s): VAN DEN BROEK Nynke
Published by: International Health
Year published: 2019

Despite more than 40 y of discussion and debate regarding female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), this topic remains controversial and emotive, and the practice continues. FGM/C is defined as ‘all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs, whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons’. There are four main classifications of FGM/C (Table 1). Type III, or ‘infibulation’, is the most severe form and accounts for 10% of cases. It is estimated that more than 200 million girls and women worldwide are living with the effects of FGM/C. Of these, 44 million are <15 y of age. FGM/C is practised mainly in Africa, with the highest prevalence in Somalia, Egypt, Mali and Sudan, where more than 80% of all women between 15 and 49 y of age have undergone FGM/C. However, FGM/C is also prevalent in other settings including the Middle East, India and Indonesia. The specific type of FGM/C varies within and between countries.