At least 200 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) based on recent data from 31 countries, according to a UN report published on Tuesday.
“Despite recent progress, the prevalence of FGM remains alarmingly high in parts of Northern Africa, Eastern Africa and West Africa,” according to the World’s Women 2020: Trends and Statistics, which compiles 100 data stories that provide a snapshot of the state of gender equality worldwide.
“Because COVID-19 is interrupting programs to end FGM, progress may be threatened,” said the report, while acknowledging that FGM “is slowly declining” in some countries and subregions where the practice is prevalent.
Progress in the elimination of FGM is not universal, and “where it is taking place it is not fast enough.” Even in countries where the practice has become less common, progress would need to be at least 10 times faster to meet the global target of its elimination by 2030, said the report.
Based on the latest available data, in six countries, at least three out of every four women and adolescent girls aged 15-19 have undergone FGM, said the report.
Produced by the Statistics Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World’s Women report has been produced every five years since 1990 and provides the latest data on the state of gender equality worldwide.