Female Genital Mutilation. Overview and Current Knowledge

By Armelle Andro, Marie Lesclingand, Madeleine Grieve, Paul Reeve

Female genital mutilation (FGM), which is any form of non-therapeutic intervention leading to the ablation or alteration of the female genital organs, has adverse health consequences. According to UNICEF, in 2016, more than 200 million women in the world have undergone FGM. This article examines the prevalence of FGM and its variation over time in the different regions of the world, and presents current knowledge of the determinants of the practice and its effects on health and sexuality. Recent public health studies have demonstrated the scale and diversity of the consequences of FGM, and specific medical services have been developed for the women concerned. Available data show that while FGM is well studied in Africa, it remains poorly documented in certain regions of the world. This is notably the case in countries where the practice is clandestine, and in those with immigrant populations from countries where women undergo FGM.


  • female genital mutilation
  • female genital cutting
  • gender
  • violence
  • sexuality
  • health
  • prevalence
  • demographic survey
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