Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

FGM and the SDGs

FGM and the SDGs
Women protesting together

Read this excerpt taken from UNICEF

Excerpt from UNICEF

Taken from UNICEF

Description of the image:

Image contains an excerpt from UNICEF reading

“Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is a human rights issue that affects girls and women worldwide. As such, its elimination is a global concern. In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a milestone resolution calling on the International community to intensify efforts to end the practice. More recently, in September 2015, the global community agreed to a new set of development goals – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – which includes a target under Goal 5 to eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and FGM/C, by the year 2030. Both the resolution and the SDG framework signify the political will of the international community and national partners to work together to accelerate action towards a total, and final, end to the practice in all continents of the world. More and better data are needed to measure progress towards the common goal”

Closer look at the relevant SDGs:

5 Gender equality with gender symbols

SDG 5: Gender Equality “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” The targets:

  • Target 5.1: End discrimination against women and girls
  • Target 5.2: End all violence against and exploitation of women and girls
  • Target 5.3: Eliminate forced marriage and genital mutilation
  • Target 5.4: Value unpaid care and promote shared domestic responsibilities
  • Target 5.5: Ensure full participation in leadership and decision-making
  • Target 5.6: Universal access to reproductive health and rights
  • Target 5.A: Equal rights to economic resources, property ownership and financial services
  • Target 5.B: Promote empowerment of women through technology
  • Target 5.C: Adopt and strengthen policies and enforceable legislation for gender equality

Gender equality with images representing the different targets

FGM was specifically included in SGD 5 “to eliminate all harmful practices such as child early and forced marriage and FGM by the year 2030”, but it could be argued that target 5.2 of ending violence against women could also relate to ending FGM.

Adapted from– can be used for further reading

We can also look at SDG 3 and see where FGM fits into this.

3 Good health and wellbeing with image of heartrate monitor

SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages


  • Target 3.1: Reduce maternal mortality
  • Target 3.2: End all preventable deaths under 5 years of age
  • Target 3.3: Fight communicable diseases
  • Target 3.4: Reduce mortality from non-communicable diseases and promote mental health
  • Target 3.5: Prevent and treat substance abuse
  • Target 3.6: Reduce road injuries and deaths
  • Target 3.7: Universal access to sexual and reproductive care, family planning and education
  • Target 3.8: Achieve universal health coverage
  • Target 3.9: Reduce illnesses and death from hazardous chemicals and pollution
  • Target 3.A: Implement the WHO framework convention on tobacco control
  • Target 3.B: Support research, development and universal access to affordable vaccines and medicines
  • Target 3.C: Increase health financing and support health workforce in developing countries
  • Target 3.D: Improve early warning systems for global health risks

Good health and wellbeing with diagrams representing the targets

Adapted from

End FGM in SDG 3:

  • Target 3.1: Reduce maternal mortality

Women with FGM are significantly more likely to experience adverse obstetric outcomes, and the risk of maternal mortality in women with FGM is raised. FGM is estimated to lead to an extra one to two perinatal deaths per 100 deliveries.

From WHO website

  • Target 3.2: End all preventable deaths under 5 years of age

FGM can be carried out on children as young as 4, and it can lead to death.

Target 3.4 diagram of family with heartrate monitor and heart

+Target 3.4: Reduce mortality from non-communicable diseases and promote mental health

FGM can lead to poor mental health, through depression and PTSD.

  • Target 3.7: Universal access to sexual and reproductive care, family planning and education

FGM can make survivors less likely to be able to access and receive good sexual and reproductive health

Further reading: SDGs on the UN website

This article is from the free online

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): Health, Law, and Socio-Cultural Sensitivity

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now