• FGM includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
• The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
• Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
• An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.
• It is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15 years.
• In Africa an estimated 92 million girls from 10 years of age and above have undergone FGM.
• FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
FGM comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths
The causes of female genital mutilation include a mix of cultural, religious and social factors within families and communities.
• Where FGM is a social convention, the social pressure to conform to what others do and have been doing is a strong motivation to perpetuate the practice.
• FGM is often considered a necessary part of raising a girl properly, and a way to prepare her for adulthood and marriage.
• FGM is often motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behavior, linking procedures to premarital virginity and marital fidelity. FGM is in many communities believed to reduce a woman's libido, and thereby is further believed to help her resist "illicit" sexual acts. When a vaginal opening is covered or narrowed the fear of pain of opening it, and the fear that this will be found out, is expected to further discourage "illicit" sexual intercourse among women with this type of FGM.
• FGM is associated with cultural ideals of femininity and modesty, which include the notion that girls are “clean” and "beautiful" after removal of body parts that are considered "male" or "unclean".
• Though no religious scripts prescribe the practice, practitioners often believe the practice has religious support.
• Religious leaders take varying positions with regard to FGM: some promote it, some consider it irrelevant to religion, and others contribute to its elimination.
• In most societies, FGM is considered a cultural tradition, which is often used as an argument for its continuation