FGM/C in Egypt: Prevalence Rate and Prospects

FGM in Egypt

The practice of FGM is Egypt is quite prevalent, whereby 91.1 percent of women aged 15-49 has undergone FGM according to the 2008 Demographic Health Survey in Egypt. However, recent evidence has shown that the practice is declining among girls and women of younger age, where the prevalence rate is 74 percent among girls aged 15-17. The report indicated that a decline is expected over the next fifteen years among girls age 15-17, reaching a level of 45 percent.
In 2006, another representative study was conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) among school girls aged 10-18 in 10 selected governorates measuring the prevalence of FGM/C among them. The study concluded that 50 percent of the girls are circumcised and that the percentage of circumcision is higher among the daughters of non-educated mothers (64.7 percent) as opposed to the daughters of women who attended university (22.3 percent).
The 2008 EDHS has also shown that a mother’s level of education, residency and economic status are important variables. For example, urban women are less likely to be circumcised than rural women (EDHS, 2000, 2005 & 2008). The likelihood of circumcision drops by education level and wealth quintile. The 2008 EDHS reports that 31 percent of girls in the highest wealth quintile are expected to be circumcised by the age of 18 compared with 73 percent of girls in the lowest wealth quintile.
In June of 2008, the Egyptian Parliament agreed to criminalize FGM/C in the Penal Code, establishing a minimum custodial sentence of three months and a maximum of two years, or an alternative minimum penalty of 1,000 Egyptian pounds (LE) and a maximum of 5,000 LE. As of yet no one has been convicted according to this law
Also, the new Child Law included the formation of Child Protection Committees (CPC) at different national levels with duties to identify, support and monitor children at risk of neglect and abuse, including girls at risk of circumcision.
Furthermore, to assist in the enforcement of legislation, Egypt hosted in 2008 a regional meeting entitled 'Cairo Declaration+5'. This conference is a follow-up to the 2003 meeting that also took place in Cairo and resulted in an important legal document on FGM titled 'The Cairo Declaration for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation'. The main objectives of the conference were to follow up on the recommendations of the pervious conference and to launch an international campaign aimed at rekindling world-wide attention on FGM.
The Egyptian Ministry of Health (MoH) issued in 2007 a ministerial decree (271) closing a loophole in the previous 1996 decree by banning everyone, including health professionals, from performing FGM in governmental or non-governmental hospitals/clinics. 
In 2007, Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa’s issued a 'Fatwa' condemning FGM and the Azhar Supreme Council for Islamic Research issued a statement explaining that FGM has no basis in the core Islamic Sharia or any of its partial provisions.
In September 2012, Egyptian gynecologists and obstetricians union launched a statement declaring that FGM is not a medical procedure and is not included in any medical curriculum else as a practice that should be prevented consequently law doesn’t offer protection to physicians who practice it.