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Shocking figures reveal 92 per cent of married women in Egypt have suffered female genital mutilation


  • Figure relates to women aged 15 to 49 and is even higher in remote areas
  • The statistic were revealed by the country’s Minister of Health Adel Adawy
  • He said most females undergo the procedure between ages of nine and 12

Up to 92 per cent of married women in Egypt have undergone female genital mutilation, it has been revealed.

The country’s Minister of Health Adel Adawy said the figure relates to women aged between 15 and 49 – and is even higher at 95 per cent in rural areas.

Most females undergo the procedure between the ages of nine and 12 and less than a third of the operations are carried out by doctors, the minister said.

According to Egyptian Streets, the statistics were revealed at a conference examining the results of last year’s Egypt Demographic and Health Survey.

It found that 30 per cent of married women believe the practice should be banned – but more than half were in favour of the procedure for religious reasons.

Egypt has one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation in the world and criminalised the practice in 2008, but it remains widespread.

Human rights group Equality Now revealed earlier this year that almost one in four survivors of female genital mutilation in the world is from the country.

Earlier this year Egyptian doctor Raslan Fadl was convicted of manslaughter and performing female genital mutilation that led to the death of 13-year-old Sohair el-Batea, sentencing him to more than two years in prison.

The verdict was described as a ‘a triumph for women’ by lawyers representing the girl.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the deliberate removal of all or part of the external female genitalia.

The World Health Organisation describes FGM as any procedure that injures the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is also referred to as female circumcision or female cutting.

FGM is mostly carried out on young girls in adolescence but is also carried out during childhood and sometimes on babies.

In some cultures, it is seen as a right of passage into womanhood and a condition of marriage. Some believe the genitals will be ‘unclean’ if the female does not have FGM.

There is also a common belief that women need to have FGM to have babies. But, infact, FGM can cause infertility and an increased risk of childbirth complications.

The procedure is often carried out by a woman with no medical training.

Anaesthetics and antiseptic treatments are not generally used and the practice is usually carried out using knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades.

The procedure can cause severe bleeding and infections, which can last the woman’s entire lifetime.

It is estimated that 3 million girls are cut every year across the world. Around 23,000 of these are carried out in the UK. The practice is particularly rife in some African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries.

In Africa, more than three million girls have been estimated to be at risk of female genital mutilation annually, according to the World Health Organisation.

It estimates that more than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and Middle East where FGM is concentrated.

The practice is most common in the western, eastern, and north-eastern regions of Africa, in some countries in Asia and the Middle East, and among migrants from these areas.


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