Details about FGM

Other terms used to describe Female Genital Mutilation

  • FGC: Female Genital Cutting
  • Female Circumcision: It links the procedure to male circumcision, hiding the physical and psychological effects of the procedure and failing to describe the different types of it.

More related to terms used in many local languages.

Types of FGM

Type 1 – Sunna: removal of the clitoral hood with or without the removal of the clitoris

Type 2 – Excision: removal of the clitoris and partial or total removal of the vaginal lips

Type 3 – Infibulation: removal of the clitoris, vaginal lips and the stitching of the vagina, leaving a 1-2cm opening

Type 4: piercing the clitoris, cauterisation, cutting the vagina, inserting corrosive substances

Countries where FGM is performed


FGM is practised in 28 African Countries including Egypt.It is, also, practiced in parts of the Middle East, including Yemen, Syria and some Kurds in Northern Iraq and in Asia, in some parts of Pakistan and Indonesia.

Age at which FGM is performed

The age at which FGM is done to a girl/woman varies from community to community. FGM can be performed:
1.During infancy, even from a few days old,
During childhood, between 4 to 10 years old,
At the onset of Puberty,
At marriage,
During 1st pregnancy.

Way that FGM is performed

The way that FGM is performed varies from community to community but generally FGM is done by an elderly woman or man, a Traditional Birth Attendant or a circumcisor from the community.

It is carried out in primitive conditions, using special knives, scissors, razors or pieces of glass.  Even sharp stones are reported as being used.The wound is often held together with thorns and the girls legs are bound together until the wound is healed – for type 3 this can be for up to 40 days.

It is been noticed that in some countries, the procedure is done by a doctor using anaesthetic. But in any way it has the same dangerous impacts. Medicalisation of FGM is, also, condemned by the World Health Organisation.

Reasons of FGM

Religion is NOT a basis for FGM Neither the Bible, the Qu’ran nor any other religious book make any reference to FGM and it has been condemned by all religious leaders. The reason for this is that in every religion it is a sin to harm others and especially children.

Cultural identity/Social convention The procedure is interlinked with social acceptance. It is done because it is tradition and culture and there is peer pressure. It is believed that secures the prospects of marriage and access to resources and opportunities.

Gender Identity FGM is the girl’s initiation into womanhood and enhancing femininity, taking out a part of the female body that it is considered as a “remnant” of the male reproductive organs.

Sexual control It is believed that FGM reduces the woman’s desire for sex and therefore improve the prospects of premarital virginity, marital fidelity and sexual modesty.

Hygiene/cleanliness Women that are unmutilated are regarded as unclean and treated badly.