Press Release about Launching "No to Medicalizing FGM" Campaign
On November 25th of every year, the world celebrates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This day marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence which ends with the celebration of Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10th. This tradition began in 1999 with a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, remarking November 25th of each year as a day to raise awareness of all forms of violence against women.
The choice of this day is due to the memory of the killing of the Mirabal sisters, political activists, and feminists in the Dominican Republic in 1966.
The local celebrations aim to shed light on the suffering of women and girls in Egypt. Since their birth, girls have lived with discrimination and violent practices against them in treatment, through dropping out of education, early marriage, genital mutilation (FGM), domestic violence, and deprivation of inheritance. etc.
FGM crime comes on top of the crimes that girls and women in Egypt suffer from. Rather, Egypt occupies a leading position globally in the rates of this crime. Despite the efforts of the State authorities during the past two decades in trying to eradicate FGM, results proved that the size of the change is not commensurate in any way with the scale of these efforts.
Years of national campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of this habit and its legal criminalization have not resulted in a significant decrease in FGM rates. According to the Egyptian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) 2014, the prevalence of female circumcision is about 92% among women who have been married (15- 49 years). On another hand, about 70% of young men of both sexes support the circumcision of their daughters in the future, according to a survey of young people which was issued in 2014.
Egypt also faces a real challenge as the rates of FGM being performed by doctors and health care providers have increased to 78.4% (EDHS 2014) in a phenomenon referred to as the Medicalization of FGM.
Despite the existence of an article in the Egyptian Penal Code (242 bis), amended in 2016, which states that “whoever performs female circumcision shall be punished with imprisonment from five to seven years, and it shall be raised to rigorous imprisonment in the event that it leads to permanent disability or death”, and the text of Article 242 bis (A), which states a “prison sentence from one to three years for anyone who accompanies a female to perform a circumcision” the chances of impunity of doctors and healthcare providers remain high.
In light of these alarming and increasing numbers, Tadwein for Gender Studies highlights the issue of FGM Medicalization during its celebrations of the 16 Days of Activism to Combat VAW global campaign in an attempt to raise the awareness of doctors and those reluctant to seek medical services and advice about the futility of conducting this procedure. FGM is not taught in the current Egyptian medical curricula, has never been mentioned in any medical curriculum, and has countless psychological, social, and health damages to girls and women.