Female genital mutilation (FGM) is an ancient traditional non-therapeutic surgical procedure that involves total or partial removal of the external parts of female genitalia. This paper aimed to define and classify FGM, identifies the prevalence, describes reasons for performing the practice, and concentrates on the problems associated to this practice with regard to women’s health, religious beliefs, and socio-cultural, behavioral and moral consequences. Researches and survey reports that the global actions have been taken to reduce or abolish the prevalence of the practice will be assessed.
Female genital mutilation (also known as female circumcision) is the cutting of female clitoral hood and removing clitoris. Following the cutting of female genital organ, there are many short-term and long-term health risk problems, and even death due to some complicated infections. The reasons for performing female genital mutilation are connected with socio-cultural beliefs, attitudes, values and customs, transition of girls into womanhood, tradition and cultural heritage, the fear of not having access to resources and opportunities as a young woman, perception to reduce sexual desire of females; hence, will sustain premarital virginity, and maintain marital fidelity. Actions have taken at international, national and regional levels since the past many years and have begun to bear fruits, but the practice is still undergoing in many countries in the world and highly prevalent in Africa. To continue and motivate further reduction in changing the society’s attitudes towards female genital mutilation in the countries where the prevalence has remained stable so it’s therefore vital that the work against female genital mutilation be strengthened to work against more effectively the underlying reasons behind continuation of the practice. Global measures should focus on the areas of socio-cultural, medical, and legal commitments, because, the practice has brought a negative impact on the women’ life, and violates human rights. Due to its multiple medical and social problems, female genital mutilation needs worldwide concern.
According to the definition of World Health Organization (2011), female genital mutilation is defined as any surgical change of the female genital organ, consist of any procedures involving partial or total removal of the external parts of female genital organ, or any other injuries to the female genitalia for cultural, or non-medical reasons. Based on the severity of cutting, World Health Organization (WHO) classifies female genital mutilation in to four (4) major parts.
Type-1: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (clitoridectomy)
Type-2: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora (inner lips of the vaginal opening), with or without removal of labia majora (outer lips of the vaginal opening)