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U.S. Efforts to Eradicate FGM


Teenaged girls attend an after-school discussion of female genital mutilation at the Sheik Nuur Primary School in Hargeisa, Somaliland on Feb. 16, 2014.

The United States is committed to eradicating the harmful practice known as Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, or FGM/C.

The United States is committed to eradicating the harmful practice known as Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, or FGM/C.

As many as 140 million women and girls in countries around the globe have been subjected to this violation of bodily integrity. And according to UNICEF, up to 30 million girls under the age of 15 are at risk for the procedure over the next decade. The practice is most common in 29 countries, including countries in western, eastern, and north-eastern regions of Africa, as well as some countries in Asia and the Middle East. Depending on the degree of the cutting, the practice can lead to a range of severe physical and mental health problems.

The United States’ commitment to ending FGM/C is rooted in efforts to protect and advance the rights of women and girls globally. The U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally, launched in 2012, specifically recognizes FGM/C as a harmful practice and a form of gender-based violence. The U.S. also recently strengthened reporting on this issue in its annual human rights reports.

The U.S. is supporting host country legislation against the practice of FGM/C; is participating in the FGM Donors Working Group to discuss donor coordination and best practices to eliminate genital cutting; and is engaging civil society through social media and public outreach to spotlight the work being done to educate and invest in girls, a key to preventing FGM/C.

The United States also supports eradication of this practice by investing in programs that work with local communities to eradicate FGM/C globally. This approach includes supporting the Nairobi Center of Excellence, which seeks to improve health care for girls and women suffering negative consequences from FGM/C. During the recent UK-organized Girl Summit, the State Department and USAID announced the launch of a new program dedicated to eliminating the practice in Guinea’s eight districts – impacting up to 65,000 girls.

The United States is committed to stemming the tide of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting and improving the lives of women and children suffering from its harmful consequences. "All people," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, "deserve to live in dignity and without fear of gender-based violence. We must have zero tolerance for anything less."

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