Three stats & a map

by Dawn Araujo-Hawkins

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In the 2014 update of its data sheet on female genital mutilation, the Population Reference Bureau found that FGM appears to be on the decline. The practice, however, still affects millions of girls both around the world and across religions. An estimated 100 million to 140 million women and girls have already undergone FGM, and in Africa alone, another 3 million girls are at risk. 

Every few years, the Population Reference Bureau produces a data sheet of global trends in FGM based on data from the Demographic and Healthy Surveys and UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys. Since 1989, these surveys – answered by women ages 15 to 49 – have provided insight into women’s lives around the world.

From the 2014 data sheet:

  • Younger women are less likely to have undergone FGM than older women; however, this trend varies from country to country. For example, in the Central African Republic, 18 percent of girls and women between the ages of 15 and 19 had been cut compared to 34 percent of women between the ages of 45 and 49. On the other hand, in Chad, 41 percent of younger women and 48 percent of older women had undergone FGM.
  • Despite a general downward trend, some countries showed an increase in the number of women undergoing FGM. Mali went from 85 percent of women in 2005 to 89 percent in 2010. In Burkina Faso, 76 percent of women underwent the procedure as compared to 73 percent in 2006. In Côte d’Ivoire, there was an increase from 36 percent of women in 2006 to 38 percent in 2012.
  • Of the 29 developing countries surveyed, 25 had laws or decrees addressing FGM.

This interactive map from the United Nations Population Fund shows FGM statistics by country.