Some advocates for FGC eradication refer to the procedure as female genital mutilation because of the extent of damage it can cause to a woman’s reproductive organs.
There four classifications of FGC that have been established by international agencies.
Classification of Types of FGC
Type I: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or prepuce (clitoridectomy).
Type II: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (excision).
Type III: Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and positioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris (infibulation).
Type IV: All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example: pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, and cauterization. (UNAIDS et al., 2008.)
Many people consider FGC a violation of human rights because it is performed on girls and young women who are not yet adults and so are unable to make informed decisions for themselves. Many also see it as an act of gender-based violence because it causes lifelong harm to females (UNAIDS et al., 2008).
The practice of FGM is problematic at both individual and societal levels. As a socio-cultural practice, FGM is both a manifestation of and a contributing mechanism to the larger system of inequitable gender relations between men and women (Lewnes, 2005).
For instance, FGC responds to gender norms that say women should be sexually pure. This norm is enforced through measures that endanger girls’ and women’s health and cause needless suffering. The consequences of FGM for individual women are particularly relevant in the context of health