About female genital cutting
Female genital cutting is known to happen in 28 African countries as well as some countries in Asia and the Middle East. It is also an issue in countries with large diaspora populations in Europe, North America and Australasia.
What about in countries with a diaspora population?
Female genital cutting is known to be practised in diaspora populations around the world including Europe, US and Australasia. Practising communities bring traditions with them as they migrate and may be more likely to hold on to customs which they perceive as part of their cultural identity.
Interestingly, while foot binding was abandoned in China within a generation, it was the members of the Californian diaspora who were most resistant to abandonment.
As with all figures related to FGC, it is very hard to come up with accurate estimates for practice within these immigrant communities, and figures from different sources vary enormously. Girls are also taken overseas, often during the summer holidays to be cut in countries where FGC is legal.
Is FGC just an African problem?
Female genital cutting is practised around the globe by diverse peoples and religions.
It is documented in Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia and Kurdistan. It is also known to be practised in the Middle East, in countries such as Yemen, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. There are also reports from one group in India and Pakistan, the Bohra Dawoodi, who also practise. Increasingly, FGC is an issue amongst diaspora communities throughout Europe, the USA and Australia.
Up to 140 million women in the world today are living with the effects of FGC and it is estimated that 500,000 women living with the consequences in Europe.
Because FGC is a taboo subject, it is difficult to quantify its extent. New information is continually shedding light on places that had not been previously known to practise FGC. Further research is needed in order to address FGC in a comprehensive way.
Where does FGC happen?
Female genital cutting has been documented in 28 African countries, the Middle East (including Yemen, Oman and the United Arab Emirates), parts of Asia (including Malaysia, Indonesia and Kurdistan) as well as among diaspora communities in Western countries (including parts of Europe, the USA and Australia).
Recently, new anecdotal information has surfaced, indicating that FGC might also be practised in other countries including parts of India and Pakistan and in Thailand.
With up to 140 million women around the world living with the effects, FGC is a global issue that urgently needs addressing.