President's Corner

Zonta International committed to helping end female genital mutilation by 2030

6 February 2017

Zonta International committed to helping end female genital mutilation by 2030

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

Today, we join the United Nations in recognizing the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation and reiterate our support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which promises an end to the harmful practice by 2030.

“On this Day of Zero Tolerance, let us build on positive momentum and commit to intensifying global action against this heinous human rights violation for the sake of all affected women and girls, their communities, and our common future,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement.

It is estimated that globally, at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM. If current trends continue, 15 million additional girls between ages 15 and 19 will be subjected to it by 2030.

Zonta recognizes that FGM is an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls that violates their rights and is harmful in many ways. From 1998-2002, Zonta International worked with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to reduce the incidence of female genital circumcision in Burkina Faso. As a result, Burkina Faso saw a 40 percent decrease in the number of girls who underwent FGM – from 66.35 percent in 1996 to 25 percent in 2005. The government now sees FGM as an issue of public health, violence and individual rights rather than just a traditional practice.

Though Zonta is not currently supporting projects directly related to FGM, we are committed to ending violence against women and girls in all its forms, everywhere. We promise to continue supporting and advocating for the Sustainable Development Goals so that FGM is abandoned by 2030, and we encourage our clubs and members to do the same.



Susanne von Bassewitz is the 2018-2020 President of Zonta International and the Zonta International Foundation.

»Read her biography.