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One of the most widely practiced forms of female genital mutilation is circumcision. While the surgery itself isn't harmful, the stigma associated with uncut women is even more problematic. Despite the benefits of preserving virginity, circumcision is still widely practiced as a way to make the genitalia hygienic and attractive. In addition to preventing infection, uncut women are viewed as dirty and can't be invited to social gatherings. In addition, their families can be discriminated against in the community.
The UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme to End FGM/C is an attempt to increase global investment in efforts to eradicate FGM. In particular, this global pandemic is creating a crisis within a crisis for many countries. As such, the Joint Programme calls on the global community to imagine a new world, and promotes social media participation to increase awareness about FGM/C. The study also aims to improve the quality of life of women and girls worldwide by reducing the stigma and harmful effects of the practice.
The Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, condemned FGM as a violation of human rights and a threat to reproductive health. This statement specifically called on governments to enact legislation against perpetrators of violence against women and girls, and condemned the practice as a form of child marriage. The initiative was spearheaded by African women, who are particularly affected by the stigma. The World Bank published a 2019 Compendium of National Legal Frameworks Against FGM.
The UN General Assembly declared February 6th as International Day of Zero Tolerance Against Female Genital Mutilation to address this issue. In addition to UNICEF, UNFPA and UNICEF jointly lead the largest global programme to end FGM. Their Joint Programme focuses on 17 countries in Africa and supports regional initiatives. There are also non-medical methods, such as binding the legs of girls. This practice affects millions of girls worldwide, and the UNFPA estimates that two million girls will be at risk by 2030.
Despite widespread support for FGM, the practice has also been rooted in gender inequality. About 10% of women are affected by type III of FGM. In many places, FGM is practiced by both men and women. While women are the ones who suffer most, men often support the practice. In these communities, FGM is practiced primarily as a way to ensure sexual fidelity during marriage. So, how does FGM differ from other forms of genital mutilation?
Although FGM is illegal in many countries, it continues to be practiced on a routine basis in parts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the diaspora of affected countries. FGM is an uncomfortable procedure characterized by the need for speed and surprise. The clitoris is cut between the nails and the slash aims to remove the organ. The female's senior relatives decide whether more is necessary or not.
Despite efforts to eradicate the practice, they have failed to make a difference. Many attempts have failed simply because opponents did not consider the social and economic context. In many cases, the external intervention only reinforced a community's resolve to practice female circumcision in order to resist perceived cultural imperialism. However, legislation and laws alone cannot prevent this practice. Every individual can make a difference. This article outlines three ways that you can stop female genital mutilation today.
Despite its harmful effects, female genital cutting has no proven health benefits and can negatively affect a woman's overall sexual health. Therefore, female genital cutting is illegal in Australia, in other states, and in some overseas countries. The maximum penalty is $750. While it is illegal in some countries, it is still practiced among immigrant populations in Western Europe, North America, and Australia. If you are planning on performing female genital mutilation, please check with your local law enforcement agency.
Deinfibulation is an alternative treatment for FGM and has been shown to improve many symptoms associated with the practice. During pregnancy, women who have undergone FGM should tell their midwife if they are planning to get pregnant. Some women may not remember their FGM history because it was performed on them as infants. However, if you suspect you have had FGM, it is important to notify your midwife immediately.
Despite this widespread practice, the rates of female circumcision are dropping globally. Today, adolescent girls in Kenya, Tanzania, and the Central African Republic are one third less likely to undergo genital cutting than they were thirty years ago. In addition, the prevalence of the practice in Iraq, Liberia, and Nigeria has dropped by half. Nevertheless, it is still an unacceptable practice and needs to be ended.
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