The UN estimates that over 140
million girls and women across the world have undergone female genital
mutilation (FGM), a term that covers a ranges of procedures, from
trimming the clitoral hood, to removing almost the entire genitalia and
partially sealing the vaginal opening.
There has been little change in the frequency of FGM in the past decade, according
to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and it seems that tougher laws
will not necessarily solve the problem. Twenty-two of the 29 countries
shown have some kind of law prohibiting FGM: Guinea, where prevalence is
around 95 percent, banned it some 20 years ago. In fact the WHO has
even warned that making it illegal could lead to parents making their daughters go under the knife younger.
Fanta Jatta Sowe, specialist on
women's rights for ActionAid in Gambia - one of the countries where FGM
is still legal - said a law would only help if people accepted it.
“We need to educate people first for them to understand that FGM is not
beneficial… but attitudes are changing, especially among the young.”
Click here to see the interactive map.