Towards ending harmful practices in Africa

A statistical overview of child marriage and female genital mutilation

June 17, 2022

Child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) are serious violations of a child’s rights. But across Africa, girls and women continue to experience these harmful practices with alarming regularity. The continent is home to 130 million child brides and nearly 140 million girls and women who have undergone female genital mutilation. Over 40 million girls and women in Africa have experienced both harmful practices.

Globally, Africa has the highest levels of both practices. Their prevalence varies widely across the continent by region, country or even the community a girl is a member of. Progress towards ending these harmful practices is likewise mixed: some countries in Africa have already made impressive advances in upholding girls’ and women’s rights, while in others, there is still much that needs to be done.


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Child marriage

130 million girls and women were married in childhood

Female genital mutilation

Nearly 140 million girls and women underwent FGM

Intersection of harmful practices

Among the 130 million married in childhood and nearly 140 million who underwent FGM, over 40 million girls and women experienced both practices


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