Nigeria is third in the world for female genital mutilation, according to the UN
With an estimated 19.9 million survivors, Nigeria ranks third in the world for the number of women and girls who have suffered female genital mutilation, according to two UN organizations.
4.3 million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation this year, and that number is expected to rise to 4.6 million by 2030, according to UN agencies the United Nations Children’s Fund and the United Nations Population Fund.
The agencies stated in a joint statement made available to our correspondent on Monday that without immediate action, the world will fall short of the goal of eradicating FGM by 2030.
The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is observed on February 6 in order to focus and magnify efforts to end this practice, according to The PUNCH. The “Partnership with Men and Boys to Change Social and Gender Norms to End FGM” is the theme for this year.
FGM refers to all non-medical operations that include the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or other harm to the female genital organs.
According to experts, the practice has no positive effects on a girl’s or woman’s health and leads to extreme bleeding, urination issues, cysts, infections, labor complications, and a higher risk of stillbirth.
According to the most recent estimates, 4.3 million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation this year. By 2030, it is anticipated that this number will rise to 4.6 million as conflict, climate change, rising poverty, and inequality continue to obstruct efforts to modify the gender and social norms that support this harmful practice and interfere with initiatives that support the protection of girls.
“FGM is still common in Nigeria. Nigeria ranks third in the world for the number of women and girls who have had FGM, with an estimated 19.9 million survivors, and the risk of cutting is highest in the first five years (86 per cent of girls circumcised before age 5 – National Demographic and Health Survey 2018).
“According to data from the 2021 Multiple Indicator Survey, FGM prevalence in Nigeria is declining among women aged 15 to 49 (18% to 15% 2016–17/2021). In a similar manner, between 0 and 14-year-old girls, the incidence dropped from 25% to 8% during that time (MICS 2021). Given that an estimated 86% of females aged 0–14 are estimated to have a sexually transmitted infection, this large fall in prevalence among girls 0–14
According to the organizations, FGM violates the rights of women and girls and reduces their chances for success in terms of health, education, and income in the future.
“Rooted in gender inequality and power imbalances, it is an act of gender-based violence that harms girls’ bodies, dims their futures, and endangers their lives.
“Changing gender and social norms that encourage FGM is critical. Men and boys are powerful allies in the effort. Increasingly they are challenging power dynamics within their families and communities and supporting women and girls as agents of change.”
Meanwhile, the statement noted that the UNFPA-UNICEF global Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM has supported over 3,000 initiatives within the last five years where men and boys actively advocate to bring an end to the practice.
“Since implementation got underway in Nigeria in 2018, UNJP has aided 807 men’s and boys’ networks in their efforts to speak out against the practice. It has achieved this through offering men and boys comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education so they understand the effects of FGM, as well as opportunity and safe spaces for critical reflection on gender discrimination, power dynamics, positive masculinities, and
Ulla Mueller, the UNFPA Resident Representative, stated that as we all work together to fulfill the global commitment to stop FGM by 2030, men and boys continue to be essential partners in addressing gender inequality and harmful behaviors.
Cristian Munduate, the UNICEF Country Representative for Nigeria, added, “We are experiencing tremendous opposition from men as a result of our combined efforts.
“On the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM this year, we urge all stakeholders to collaborate with and involve men and boys in order to confront the attitudes and behaviors that are a result of gender inequity and contribute to FGM.
Include gender-transformative strategies and programs to alter social norms in efforts to prevent FGM.
“Invest in laws and policies at the national level that protect the rights of women and girls, including the creation of national action plans to eradicate FGM.
“Today serves as a stark reminder of the urgent necessity for even more focused and coordinated actions to realize our common objective of eradicating FGM. To protect the millions of girls and women who are at risk and condemn them to a future of poverty, we must collaborate with all stakeholders, including men and boys.