06 February 2014 – Press release

The International Federation of University Women (IFUW) calls for increased access to education to stop the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM)

– FGM impedes girls’ full educational attainment –


Geneva, Switzerland, 06 February 2014 The  International Federation of University Women (IFUW), condemns female genital mutilation (FGM) as an obstacle to girls and women enjoying their human right to education on the occasion of International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation on 6th February.


FGM is recognised as a form of Non-State Torture (NST), and the consequences of FGM can cause girls to miss school repeatedly and to drop out in order to manage their menstrual problems which are aggravated by FGM. Thus, FGM puts girls at a distinct disadvantage in all levels of education.

In some communities, girls are removed from school to undergo the procedure and then marry immediately and their education comes to an abrupt and premature end.


In addition, FGM may contribute to reduced educational achievement of girls because the acute bleeding following the procedure may initiate or exacerbate an already existing anaemia. Anaemia is known to be a major debilitating condition for girls who have begun menstruating because anaemic children have reduced learning abilities.


Increasing girls’ access to education is key to help end female genital mutilation, because educated women are less likely to allow FGM to be performed on their daughters. Recommendations to increase access to education include support for mobile schools, boarding schools, improved water and sanitation facilities in schools and better-quality teaching in girl-friendly classrooms.


The International Federation of University Women (IFUW) is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and has an international membership. Founded in 1919, IFUW is the leading girls’ and women’s global organisation run by and for women, advocating for women’s rights, equality and empowerment through access to quality education and training up to the highest levels.

– ends –

For more information please contact: Nina Joyce, T: +41 22 731 23 80; Email: nj@gwi.org

Back to Press Releases