Definition and classification of FGM

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The World Health Organization (WHO) defines the procedure of Female Genital Mutilation as
“the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female
genital organs for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.”

 

Read more:

 

About FGM

Definition of FGM

How does it happen?

Consequences

Who is concerned?

The Role of Men

Historical note

Persisting tradition

 
 

Type I


Type II


Type III


Classification

Nahid Toubia[1] was one of the first to see FGM as a public health issue, and WHO adopted her approach. The classification into four types has been developed and reviewed over the years; the one used here is the most recent version from 2007[2]. It can be found with minor wording changes in all official publications. The procedure described in the Hosken report (see About FGM) is equivalent to type III.
 
 
Type I Partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the clitoral hood
 
Type II Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora
 
Type III Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and placing together 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 nonmedical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, and cauterization (by burning of the clitoris and surrounding tissue; scraping of tissue surrounding the opening of the vagina (angurya cuts) or cutting of the vagina (gishiri cuts); introduction of corrosive substances or herbs into the vagina to cause bleeding or to tighten or narrow the vagina; and any other procedure that can be included in the definition of female genital mutilation noted above)


[1] Toubia, N., 1994, p. 712

[2] OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNECA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO, 2008, p. 23