2/16/2023 - Politics and Society

Female genital mutilation: we need to become more conscious

By Serena Alurralde

Female genital mutilation: we need to become more conscious

Female genital mutilation: a terrible practice that continues to affect millions of women worldwide

Genital Femenina Mutilation (MGF) is a procedure that comprises everything that, intentionally and for non-medical reasons, changes or damages the female genital organs.

On February 6, the International Day of Cero Tolerance is celebrated with FGM and, more than ever, forces are united and demanded to advance on the human rights of all girls and women in the world.

" Female genital mutilation is a violation of the rights of girls to health, well-being and self-determination,” said Greta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF.

Although today's girls and women are one-third less likely to suffer FGM, it is estimated that 200 million women in the world, aged between 15 and 49, have gone through this procedure than, every year, 3 million girls are at risk of suffering.

See the types of female genital mutilation: classification, consequences and fight against this cultural practice

In practice there are different types of FGM, but almost always implies partial or total removal of external genitals. The less common are the practices that affect female genital organs for non-therapy and severe purposes (Ejemplo: DRY SEX that is the introduction of cocaine into the vagina; or the placement of piercings among others).

It is important to understand that female genital mutilation is deeply linked to social, cultural, ancestral norms and gender inequality, of the communities in which it takes place. According to data from 2016 of UNICEF, it is carried out in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and some small communities in Latin America. It also persists in the populations of migrants living in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

MGF does not offer any kind of benefits and is very dangerous. It is harmful to health and often brings long-term physical and psychological consequences. Just by mentioning some of them, women can have from intense pain to bleeding, infections, complications in childbirth or during sex, infertility and even death.

In many countries it is believed that, by resorting to health professionals to perform any female genital mutilation procedure, the same is safer. This is not true because, likewise, it can damage the healthy and normal tissue interfering with the natural functions of the organism.

In other cases, much more dangerous yet and with even more complex consequences, it is performed clandestinely and in the face of a widespread silence.

For all these reasons, ending female genital mutilation is urgent. This implies taking measures that are supplemented with the legislation of each country, including families, protection services and religious leaders of the communities, among other actors.

It is also essential to be conscious and committed internationally. A positive example is the work of UNICEF which, since 2008, when the joint programme of UNICEF and UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) was established, 13 countries passed national laws prohibiting FGM. Programs have also been provided that have provided access to treatment and prevention and protection services. Also the union of African states under the motto “The Africa we want”, for the application of laws against FGM and education in matters of internal and financial resources.

The change is already happening, but there is no need to lower your arms.

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serena alurralde

Serena Alurralde

Hi! I am Serena, lic. in International Relations at Torcuato Di Tella University. I obtained the diploma for Equality and Empowerment of Women at the University of Salamanca. I love poetry and music. I write and recite at live reading events.

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