Become part of the world’s biggest dialogue experiment.

Find out how you can get involved


When culture harms the girls

A girl prepares to wash clothes at the MSF Holland hospital laundry in Galcayo South in Puntland, Somalia. Women and children are particularly hard hit with one in twelve women dying during childbirth and one in seven children dying before their first bir Siegfried Modola/MSF
A girl prepares to wash clothes at the MSF Holland hospital laundry in Galcayo South in Puntland, Somalia

FGM is a practice that violates the basic human rights of women and girls and seriously compromises their health. Nevertheless, among communities that practise FGM it is a highly valued tradition, making eradication difficult.

Nevertheless, there are also success stories. As individuals become better informed about the negative impacts of FGM, there has been a reduction in the practice and today there are few communities in which 100 percent of girls and women are circumcised.

Local organisations are working to eradicate the custom in many communities, and are achieving a higher level of success because they are able to communicate more easily with the people, whereas foreigners may appear to be ignorantly judging their traditions.

Over the last two decades, many countries have designed legal frameworks that criminalise FGM and protect women and girls who challenge the status quo, forcing those who continue to advocate it to reconsider their posiWhen culture harms the girls - the globalisation of female genital mutilationtion and actions. In many cases, communities have fully or partially abandoned the practice in favour of non-FGM initiation ceremonies.

Share this article

In-Depth Stories:

Hundreds of thousands of readers trust The New Humanitarian each month for quality journalism that contributes to more effective, accountable, and inclusive ways to improve the lives of people affected by crises.

Our award-winning stories inform policymakers and humanitarians, demand accountability and transparency from those meant to help people in need, and provide a platform for conversation and discussion with and among affected and marginalised people.

We’re able to continue doing this thanks to the support of our donors and readers like you who believe in the power of independent journalism. These contributions help keep our journalism free and accessible to all.

Show your support as we build the future of news media by becoming a member of The New Humanitarian. 

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.