UNFPA, UNICEF call for renewed commitment to end female genital mutilation in Ethiopia

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As the world observes International Day of Zero Tolerance against female genital mutilation (FGM), under the theme, “No Time for Global Inaction: Unite, Fund, and Act to End female genital mutilation,” UNFPA and UNICEF call for the accelerated implementation of the National Costed Roadmap to End Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation amid fears of an increase in harmful practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNFPA estimate two million additional cases of female genital mutilation are likely to occur globally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts to end FGM have been complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many countries experiencing a “crisis within a crisis” due to an increase in female genital mutilation and other forms of gender-based violence.
In Ethiopia, 25 million girls and women have undergone FGM, the largest absolute number in Eastern and Southern Africa. Yet, attitudes towards this practice are shifting: more than 7 in 10 girls and women oppose the continuation of the practice. With less than a decade left to achieve SDG target 5.3 to eliminate all harmful practices, eliminating female genital mutilation necessitates gender-transformative approaches that tackle the structures, policies and harmful gender norms that perpetuate the practice especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.