International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

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International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation


Days Passed (532)

The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is an annual awareness day sponsored by the United Nations. This event, held on February 6, is integral to the UN's initiatives aimed at eliminating female genital mutilation. The day was initially introduced in 2003.

Origin and History

  • Establishment: The United Nations designated February 6th as the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation in 2003. The day was first observed in 2004 to raise awareness and promote action towards the eradication of FGM.

  • Purpose: The day serves to emphasize the urgency of ending FGM, protect the rights of girls and women, and promote policies and initiatives to prevent the practice and provide support to survivors.

Understanding Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

  • Definition: FGM refers to the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

  • Health Consequences: FGM has severe health consequences, including pain, infections, childbirth complications, psychological trauma, and long-term sexual and reproductive health issues.

  • Cultural and Social Context: FGM is often linked to cultural beliefs, traditions, and perceptions about female sexuality, purity, and social acceptance, but it has no health benefits and violates human rights.

Activities and Advocacy

  • Awareness Campaigns: Organizations, governments, and activists use the day to launch awareness campaigns through media, social networks, and community events to educate people about the harmful effects of FGM and promote behavioral change.

  • Policy Advocacy: International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM encourages governments to enact and enforce laws banning FGM, develop national action plans, and allocate resources for prevention, protection, and support services.

  • Community Engagement: Communities affected by FGM are engaged through dialogue, education, and empowerment programs to challenge harmful norms, promote gender equality, and protect the rights of girls and women.

Global Impact and Progress

  • Global Commitment: The day underscores international commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5.3, which aims to eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early, and forced marriage and FGM, by 2030.

  • Progress and Challenges: While progress has been made in reducing the prevalence of FGM in some regions, the practice persists due to entrenched cultural beliefs, social norms, and inadequate legal protections.

Support for Survivors and Prevention Efforts

  • Support Services: International organizations, NGOs, and health providers offer medical, psychological, and legal support to survivors of FGM, helping them recover and rebuild their lives.

  • Prevention Programs: Comprehensive approaches include community-led education, alternative rites of passage, involvement of religious and community leaders, and advocacy for gender equality and women’s empowerment.


The International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation serves as a global call to action to end this harmful practice, protect the rights and dignity of girls and women, and promote gender equality and reproductive health. By raising awareness, advocating for policy change, supporting survivors, and engaging communities, the day contributes to the global movement to eliminate FGM and ensure a future where all girls and women can live free from violence, discrimination, and harm.