February 8, 2013 — Fewer girls in Africa and the Middle East are being subjected to female genital mutilation, which suggests it is possible to eliminate the practice, according to new data released on Wednesday by UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The data were released in conjunction with the International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.
The data showed that FGM is becoming less prevalent in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where it is most concentrated. In those areas, 36% of girls ages 15 to 19 had been cut, compared with about 53% of women ages 45 to 49. The data also identified a marked decline in FGM in Kenya, where women were three times more likely to have been cut than girls.
Despite the lower rates, the new estimates show that at least 120 million girls and women have undergone FGM in the 29 countries. The U.N. said that as many as 30 million girls under age 15 might still be at risk (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/6).
Last year, 1,775 African communities publicly vowed to end FGM. In December, the U.N. General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution calling for a global ban on FGM (BBC News, 2/7).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership