A whopping 31 countries across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East still practice female Circumcision. There are four different types of female circumcision, including clitoridectomy, excision, and infibulation.
Countries with the Highest Rate of Female Circumcision (Female Genital Manipulation):
- Somalia - 97%
- Guinea - 95%
- Djibouti - 94%
- Burkina Faso - 76%
- Gambia - 73%
- Liberia - 32%
- Mali - 89%
- Egypt - 87%
- Sudan - 87%
- Sierra Leone - 83%
- Eritrea - 83%
- Mauritania - 67%
- Ethiopia - 65%
- Guinea-Bissau - 52%
- Ivory Coast - 37%
- Chad - 34%
- Senegal - 25%
- Central African Republic - 22%
- Kenya - 21%
- Nigeria - 20%
- Yemen - 19%
- Malaysia - undetermined but high
- Indonesia - undetermined but high
Key Facts About Female Genital Circumcision
Female circumcision is a harmful practice that has been practiced for over 2000 years. Efforts to reduce female circumcision cases by key authorities and individuals alike have significantly reduced the number of women reported to undergo the procedure.
Little known facts about female circumcision include:
- 90% of women who undergo female circumcision are aged between 15 to 49 years.
- Migrants from the listed countries above have carried the practice to other countries, including the UK, USA, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.
- Female circumcision involves partial or the entire removal of the external female genitalia by traditional village women.
- Female circumcision can cause severe life-long health complications such as difficulty urinating, infections, difficulty in childbirth, cysts, etc.
- Over 200 million women and girls in Asia, Africa, and Middle East have undergone female circumcision.
- Up to 1.4 billion dollars is spent in 27 countries every year to treat complications of female circumcision.
Female Circumcision: A closer look at Countries with the Highest Number of Cases
Culture, religious beliefs, family honor, and tradition are the main reasons why people continue to practice female circumcision. Here’s a brief look into some of the countries with the highest number of female circumcision reports.
Female Circumcision in Somalia
Up to 98 percent of women in Somalia have undergone circumcision. In Somalia, women must undergo female circumcision to be eligible for marriage. Circumcision in the Somali communities is not only proof of virginity but is also viewed as an act of purification.
Somalia practices infibulation, which is the severest form of female circumcision. As a result, women in this region report increased health complications. These include sores in the genital area, excessive bleeding, urinary problems, and damage to the surrounding genital tissues.
Upon healing, women may experience pain during intercourse, child loss, urinary incontinence, hypersensitivity in the genital region, and keloid scar formation.
Female Circumcision in Kenya
One in five girls has undergone female circumcision in Kenya. In some Kenyan communities like the Maasai and Kisii, over 90 percent of the women have been circumcised.
Today, one faces serious legal repercussions should they be found practising female circumcision in Kenya. Also, rigorous efforts have been set in place to discourage the practice. Therefore, the number of circumcision cases has seen a drastic fall.
Female Circumcision in Egypt
92 percent of married women in Egypt have undergone female circumcision. Surprisingly, 72 percent of Egyptian women between the ages of 15 and 49 had the procedure done in the hospital. A process called "medicalization of female circumcision".
Female Circumcision in Sierra Leone
Recent reports show that 83 percent of women in Sierra Leone between the ages of 15 and 49 have had circumcision. This is a significant decline from 2013, when the circumcision rate was at 90 percent.
In this country, most women undergo circumcision as girls aged 10 and 14 years.