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Female Genital Mutilation:
A violation of rights with no medical justification

Female genital mutilation (FGM)  harms girls' bodies, dims their futures and endangers their lives.


Largely perpetrated against girls aged 10 - 15, FGM is rooted in gender inequality and power imbalances. It involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to female genital organs for non-medical reasons.


Most communities that practice FGM in Kenya view it as a cultural right of passage that symbolizes a girl has become a woman and is ready for marriage. It is highly correlated with other human rights violations including child marriage and prohibiting a girl's education. 

These combined practices stop a girl's future before it begins.


In Kenya, 21% of women aged 15–49 have been subjected to FGM

Key Facts about FGM   

  • The practice of FGM is rooted in gender inequality and power imbalances, limiting opportunities for girls and women in health, education, income and equality.

  • Girls today are one-third less likely to be subjected to FGM compared to three decades ago; however, progress needs to be at least 10 times faster to meet the global target of FGM elimination by 2030.

  • Approximately $2.75 billion is required to eliminate FGM by 2030 in 31 priority countries, with a resource gap of about $2.1 billion.

  • 52 million girls and women underwent FGM at the hands of healthcare personnel, indicating a growing medicalization of the practice.

  • Girls whose mothers have primary education are 40% less likely to undergo FGM than those whose mothers have no education.

  • Early intervention is crucial, as FGM is increasingly performed on the youngest girls.


Source: the United Nations Population Fund

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Effectively eliminating FGM requires a comprehensive, rights-based strategy

that reduces gender discrimination; improves social justice and human rights; focuses on community development & empowerment; and improves literacy among women and girls.

Learn more about how Kenya Works is doing just that. 

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