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Scholarly Horizons: University of Minnesota, Morris Undergraduate Journal

Abstract

Female Circumcision, also called Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), is a traditionally rooted process involving the partial or complete removal or alteration of healthy female genitalia for non-medical reasons. While there are no proven health benefits of the practice there are several serious health risks associated with it. The practice is usually carried out on girls between infancy to fifteen years of age. About 101 million girls and women suffering the consequences of FGM – out of the estimated 140 million worldwide – are in Africa. (WHO, No. 241) This paper specifically focuses on two countries on the African continent – Egypt (2013 Human Rights Report) and Burkina Faso – both very ancient countries. While in Egypt, 91% of the country’s female population (i.e., 27.2 million women) have undergone - and continue to undergo – FGM, in Burkina Faso it is much less – 74% i.e., approximately 11 million women (WHO, 1) After examining the causes of the practice in Egypt, I will highlight the efforts that are being made at a social and legal level to eradicate FGM there, and will compare it to efforts in Burkina Faso where FGM mitigation efforts have been so effective that the country has seen a significant reduction in FGM levels over the last decade.

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