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News from the field
05/02/2019
Putting an end to Female Genital Mutilation: the fight continues



More than 200 million women and girls worldwide

Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes all procedures that involve the partial or complete removal of a girl’s external genitals. Four categories of female genital mutilation exist ranging from excision (the partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora) to infibulation (narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal). Globally, it is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation[1] and a further 3.9 million girls[2] are at risk of being cut each year.


Physical and psychological consequences

The UN defines these primitive practices as a violation of the human rights of women and girls. FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15[3]. These practices have devastating and long-lasting consequences for victims: they can lead to health problems including severe bleeding, recurrent infections or complications at childbirth, as well as psychological damage throughout their lives.

FGM is mainly practiced in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and persists among immigrant populations living in other parts of the world. In Europe, 500,000 women and girls have been cut according to the World Health Organization and another 180,000 girls are at risk every year[4]. In France, there are an estimated 60,000 girls[5] at risk each year and in the United States more than 510,000[6]. The causes of FGM include a mix of cultural and social factors within families and communities. The Kering Foundation works with local actors in Europe who are involved at various levels to eradicate these harmful practices: from raising awareness to providing care and support for victims.


Our partners committed to ending female genital mutilation

In Great Britain, our partner Birmingham & Solihull Women's Aid provides support to women victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and forced marriages. The organization also works on prevention and the improvement of support for women victims of FGM through three types of action: psychological care for victims based on the model of The Dahlia Project, a pioneering institution on mental health issues in London, training of health professionals and awareness campaigns. This year, Birmingham & Solihull Women's Aid is working with students to create an awareness campaign to engage younger generations in this fight.

In France, the Maison des Femmes in Saint-Denis, supported by the Kering Foundation since its creation in 2016, fights to eradicate FGM. La Maison des Femmes will participate in a full-day event on February 6th to promote the end of FGM at in Paris, along with other organizations including Excision, Parlons-en ! and Equilibres & Populations. Round tables will be held during the day, including one hosted by Ghada Hatem, the director of the Maison des Femmes.