From a medical, legal, and social perspective, ending female genital mutilation is not
only warranted, but also necessary. Non-governmental organizations, professional organizations,
and international agencies have been campaigning vigorously against the practice for over three
decades by advocating for its ending and yet, success has been slow. More so, the absence of
beneficiaries in developing strategies, the medicalization of female genital mutilation, inadequate
interventions, and limited evaluation of projects have stagnated the efforts to eliminate the
practice (Farage, Miller, Ghebre, Tzeghai, Azuka, Sobel, and William, 2015, 84).
However, eighteen African countries have enacted legislations that criminalize female
genital mutilation. For example, in Kenya, legislation was passed in 2011 that made the practice
illegal. However, the practice is still persistent, although studies show that it led to a reduction of
20% in the practice (Patra, Shraboni, and Rakesh, 2015, 46). Also, some North American and
European countries have enacted laws that make it a crime among their immigrant communities,
but challenges have come up on how to determine who is responsible: parents or practitioners,
and on how the sanctions should be enforced.
Similarly, the recent United Nations Global Ban, a resolution spearheaded by African
nations, asking all member countries to make female genital cutting a criminal offence, shows
that the international community has a consensus in ending the act at the highest level. The ban
was followed by the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, a treaty that is presently ratified
by thirty-six African countries that call for governments to ban it (Farage, Miller, Ghebre,
Tzeghai, Azuka, Sobel, and William, 2015, 80). In 2013, the United States approved a federal
law that made it illegal for people to take their girls outside the country to undergo female genital
mutilation. Funding towards the initiatives meant to end the practice has also increased, from less
than 1% of UNICEF’s budget in 2013, when Equality Now began a campaign to ask the United
Nations to address this critical violation of human rights, to several millions of dollars today.
However, there is much more that needs to be done to protect innocent women and girls from
this heinous act. It is disturbing that, more than 3 million girls are at risk of undergoing this
procedure in African alone (Farage, Miller, Ghebre, Tzeghai, Azuka, Sobel, and William, 2015,
Female genital mutilation is deeply rooted in many communities across the world,
especially in Asia, Africa, and in the Middle East. Most communities believe that this practice
helps women to be faithful in their marriages and remain hygienic. However, these are just
myths that cannot be supported by any study or literature. This practice has detrimental effects
on women and girls who undergo it. Such people face health problems, pain, problems during
birth, infections, menstrual problems, and other issues. Fortunately, there are many positive steps
made by various nations such as the United Nations, World Health Organization, and other
stakeholders in alleviating this practice. However, there is need for commitment in the fight
against the act since legislations alone cannot end the practice. Therefore, reinforcing the laws
would bear fruit over time.