Definition and terminology

The human rights violation Female Genital Mutilation is a complex subject on which still not nearly enough extensive research exists. It can, for instance, be discussed from medical, developmental, religious, socio-economic, (post) colonial and feminist points of view. Depending on their point of view, FGM can present the norm for one person and a crime for another.

TERRE DES FEMMES is committed to end female genital mutilation worldwide. We perceive Female Genital Mutilation to be an extreme and permanent expression of a misogynistic system, and therefore, a violation of human rights.

Extreme, because it violates fundamental rights of women, for instance the right to physical integrity.

Permanent, because only a part of the survivors have the possibility to do therapies or undergo reconstructive surgery operations, but those measures cannot reverse the crime itself, nor are they a guaranteed way of ridding the consequences.

Misogynistic, because the practice inhibits the potential of girls, as it is closely linked to lack of education, underage marriage, polygamy and domestic violence.

Systematic, because FGM advocates connect social advantages like higher dowry, social acceptance, aesthetic ideals as well as mythical effects like improved hygiene, heightened fertility and well-balanced character with the practice.

We are committed to working with politicians, the media, through presentations, exhibitions and publications so that girls can grow up unharmed and survivors can live without having to suffer further restrictions.

On this homepage, we have collected information about the global prevalence of the practice, the origin of and arguments against FGM, current events and developments, about possibilities of civic engagement and about our activities towards the abolition of FGM.