What is female genital mutilation?
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a specific form of violence. Female genital mutilation involves the partial or total removal of the external genital organs for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons. The practice has severe physical and psychological consequences for the victims. It is an unacceptable violation of the rights of women and girls.
FGM in Europe
There is no reliable and comparable data on the prevalence of FGM in Europe. It is estimated, however, that hundreds of thousands of women living in Europe have been subjected to genital mutilation and thousands more girls are at risk.
Most women and girls originating from countries in which the practice of FGM is widespread live in the following EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
FGM is a crime in the EU. In some EU countries it is possible to prosecute the practice even when the procedure is performed outside the country.
What is the EU doing?
- the EU is strongly committed to eliminating female genital mutilation. Read the European Commission communication on eliminating female genital mutilation
- in 2013, the European Commission marked International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women by announcing a new push to eliminate FGM. Read the press release
- the EU supports non-governmental organisations working to combat FGM at grassroots level
- the European Institute for Gender Equality collects data and statistics on FGM