What is FGM/C?

Female genital cutting (FGC), also known as female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision (FC), refers to all procedures that involve partial or complete removal of the female genitalia. The practice is carried out in various countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. These include 29 developing economies: 28 countries in Africa, and the Republic of Yemen. Immigrant and refugee communities in various European countries and the US also practice FGC. International organizations report that 100 to 140 million girls have undergone the cut, with 3 million more set to undergo the procedure.

In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified FGC into four main types:

Type 1 or Clitoridectomy: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the clitoral hood
Type 2 or Excision: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora 
Type 3 or Infibulation: Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and placing together with the labia minor and/or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris 
Type 4 or Unclassified: All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for nonmedical procedures, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, and cauterization

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