Challenges in estimating the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the European Union and recommendations for future estimations

On Monday and Tuesday 27-28th of February, experts on female genital mutilation will gather at the international symposium on “Challenges in estimating the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the European Union and recommendations for future estimations”. The symposium concludes the international research project "FGM-PREV". This project was a cooperation between ICRH (Ghent University, Belgium), INED (France) and BICOCCA (Universita’ degli studi di Milano, Italy) and funded by the DAPHNE programme of the European Union. The Belgian Institute for the equality for women and men also supported this Project.

It is focused on developing and testing a method for prevalence estimations of female genital mutilation in Europe. The method was designed by the project's consortium and tested in Belgium and Italy. At the symposium, the lessons learned from this pilot study will be shared, and discussed with the audience, in order to formulate recommendations for future prevalence studies in the European Union.

This is an opportunity to emphasize the importance of prevalence studies for the abandonment against FGM. Women with female genital mutilation are a small population, which is invisible for numerous official statistics, and thus making prevalence estimations a complex and precarious exercise. Better data on the magnitude of the issue are necessary to foster a better understanding of the need for care in Belgium.