In February 2020 the CoP held a discussion during which we explored the links between Economy and FGM.

We found that Economic issues can be considered both in terms of causes and in terms of consequences of FGM.

First, we considered socio-economic factors such as poverty, the level of education and women’s economic and social independence as potential driving forces of FGM. As we know, FGM is linked to power relations between men and women, the gendered status of women and girls in a given society as well as their level of autonomy and action. Power, of course, is profoundly linked to economic development and property law. With this in mind, we discussed

  • Issues around how women’s socio-economic situation, their opportunities in terms of employment and education, and the level of poverty, are linked to FGM.
  • Whether economic development can foster the abandonment of FGM.

Moreover, considering the economic and social costs of FGM is also crucial. Indeed, FGM has important social and medical costs, as shown in WHO’s 2010 study on “Obstetric costs of female genital mutilation in six African countries”. A new WHO FGM cost calculation tool was presented on February 6th 2020, international day against FGM.

In this section, the following questions were addressed by the members:

  • Do you see a relationship between standard of living, poverty, education rate of girls, economic autonomy of women – and FGM, in your country ?
  • Do you have examples of women’s empowerment projects that have had a positive effect on the prevalence rate of FGM?
  • Do you have information on the cost of FGM in your country? How do you use this information in your work?

Ellen Gruenbaum, 2001,  The Female Circumcision Controversy: An Anthropological Perspective, Access here

End-FGM Network, 2020, Factsheet 4 : The Development Costs, Access here

Finke E., 2006,  Genital mutilation as an expression of power structures: ending FGM through education, empowerment of women and removal of taboos, Access here

Gruenbaum E., 2001, The Female Circumcision Controversy: An Anthropological Perspective, Access here

Les discussions de la CoP-MGF, 2020, Note thématique “Mainstreaming FGM” de la CoP-FGM, Access here

OMS, 2008, Eliminer les mutilations sexuelles féminines : déclaration inter institutions HCDH, OMS, ONUSIDA, PNUD, UNCEA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, Access here

Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (Institut méditerranéen des études de genre, M.I.G.S.)., 2015, Prise de position du réseau EndFGM: Considérer les MGF comme une question de genre et de développement, Access here

Mpinga E.K., Macias A., Hasselgard-Rowe J. et al. , 2016, Female genital mutilation: a systematic review of research on its economic and social impacts across four decades,  Access here

Population Reference Bureau, 2013, Ending female genital mutilation/cutting: lessons from a decade of progress, 2013., Access here

Shell-Duncan B., Reshma N. and Feldman-Jacobs C., 2016, A state-of-the-art synthesis on female genital mutilation/cutting: What do we know now?, Access here

UNICEF, 2013, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: a statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change, Access here

UNFPA-UNICEF, 2015, Mesurer les progrès, encourager les changements, Access here

UN Women, 2017, Rural women explore new solutions to counter customs and poverty driving FGM crisis, Access here

UN Women, 2016, Stepping out of the Boma: Maasai women of Tanzania take charge of their own lives and livelihood, Access here

UN Women Egypt, 2019, Forces for change: Improving the lives of women in Egypt, Access here

UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM, Annual Report 2018 : Accelerating Change, Published in August 2019, Access here

WHO, Bishai D., Bonnenfant Y. T., Darwish M., Adam T., Bathija H., Johansen, E., 2010, FGM Cost Study Group of World Health Organization (2010). “Estimating the obstetric costs of female genital mutilation in six African countries, Access here

WHO, 2008, Eliminer les mutilations sexuelles féminines : déclaration interinstitutions HCDH, OMS, ONUSIDA, PNUD, UNCEA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, Access here

“The Community of Practice on Female Genital Mutilation” is part of the “Building Bridges between Africa and Europe to tackle FGM” project, supported by the “UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM”.
The project is coordinated by AIDOS in partnership with GAMS Belgium.

The views expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the UNFPA, UNICEF or any other agency or organization.

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