The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation has only one objective- To eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) and raise awareness about this dreaded practice. The UN first officially observed this day on February 6, 2003. Female genital mutilation refers to all the procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The world sees this practice as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects the biased society, deep-rooted inequality between males and females and discrimination against women.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies female genital mutilation into four categories:
- Partial or total removal of the clitoris or the prepuce
- Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora
- Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and repositioning the labia minora or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris
- All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example- pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterisation
As per WHO, over 140 million girls and women have undergone some form of female genital mutilation and 3 million girls are at risk every year. This vicious practice is commonly prevalent in 29 African and the Middle East nations. Females aged 1-6 are subject to this cruel practice for cultural, religious and social reasons within families and communities. If this torture in the name of tradition continues, approx 86 million additional girls globally will be subjected to this torment by 2030.
However, efforts are being made on a large scale to raise awareness about the practice. The United Nations organises various activities and events each year to educate people about the dangers of female genital mutilation. Girls who have withstood the harshness of FGM are invited to share their personal experiences. Other activities include making policies and laws to end FGM.
In the last few years there have been some positive signs. Against all the odds, women have come up and shared their horrible experience and signed various online petitions to eliminate this devil from the society for good.