International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

Quick Facts - US

HashtagsCompiled on#FGMZeroToleranceDay2021
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2024 DateFebruary 6, 2024
2025 DateFebruary 6, 2025

International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation in
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International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) seeks to raise awareness and promote an end to harmful practice. This day is dedicated to amplifying the voices of survivors, advocates, and communities to eliminate FGM, an act recognized internationally as a violation of human rights against girls and women. Promoting education and dialogue, its key aspects are to break the silence, increase understanding, provide support to victims, and enact effective legislation to end the practice.

Compelling history underpins the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM. It was initiated by the First Lady of Nigeria, Stella Obasanjo, representing the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children. The observance gained global footing when the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights adopted this day in 2003. Even in America, according to the Center for Disease Control, over half a million women and girls are at risk of FGM—emphasizing that this is not an issue confined to any specific region but is pervasive irrespective of geographical location.

In America, International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM is marked through educational events, advocacy programs, and media campaigns. These initiatives provide critical information, highlighting the aspect of FGM as a human rights violation and its dire health consequences. There's a concentrated effort to involve schools, universities, community groups, and healthcare providers in the fight against FGM. Coinciding with the global observance, this day is marked annually on February 6 in America as well, complying with the UN's designated date, solidifying America's commitment against this harmful practice.

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Facts about this United Nations observance

  • The theme for International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation in 2024 was No Time for Global Inaction: Unite, Fund, and Act to end FGM.
  • According to the UNICEF, in 2023, about 4.2 million women were at risk of Female Genital Mutilation in more than 31 countries.
  • According to the U.N, girls who undergo female genital mutilation can face short-term complications such as severe pain, shock, excessive bleeding, and infection. They may also face long-term complications regarding their sexual and reproductive health.
  • Various sociocultural factors such as tradition, preservation of virginity, enhancement of male sexual pleasure, and notions of purity, modesty and aesthetics are often cited as reasons for FGM by the communities practicing it.

Top things to do in the US for this observance

  • Traditional values and practices can be harmful especially if those practices carry unnecessary risk. It is believed that older generations are more likely to carry on such traditions despite scientific evidence against them. According to the U.N, adolescent girls aged 15-19 are less supportive of female genital mutilation than women aged 45-49. The U.N recommends investing in youth-led movements to help achieve gender equality and to eliminate violence against women and girls. Learn how you can become involved in their latest campaign Generation Equality.
  • Learn more about the health risks of female genital mutilation and how you can help prevent the practice of it.
  • Donate to reputable charities or organizations that help promote women equality like Every Woman, Every Child.

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