Key Findings

With an FGM prevalence of 65.2% among women aged 15-49 in a population of nearly 104.5 million, Ethiopia is second to Egypt in the total number of women and girls who have experienced FGM.

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The regions with the highest prevalence are in the east


Approximately 64% of daughters of women aged 15-49 who have undergone FGM were cut before the age of 4


‘Cut, flesh removed’ is the most common type of FGM practised


Almost all FGM is carried out by ‘traditional practitioners’

Development Indicators


104,278,136 (as at 7 June 2017), with a 2.88% growth rate (Nov. 2016 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate

41 deaths per 1,000 live births (2015)

Maternal Mortality Rate

353 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015)


49.1% of the total population aged 15 and over can read/write

Prevalence of FGM

Prevalence of FGM

FGM is practised across all regions, religions and ethnic groups in Ethiopia.  FGM among women aged 15-49 is more prevalent in the east of the country, and the region with the highest prevalence is  Somali, at 98.5%.  The lowest prevalence is in Tigray, at 24.2%.  It should be noted that small sample sizes were used in many of the regions and figures therefore may not be accurate.  Women who live in rural areas are more likely to be cut (68.4% of women aged 15-49) than women who live in urban areas (53.9%).  

The Somali are the ethnic group with the highest prevalence of FGM among women aged 15-49, at 98.5%, followed by the Afar, at 98.4% (however, once again, the small sample size makes this figure potentially unreliable).  The ethnic group with the lowest prevalence is the Tigray, at 23%.

82.2% of Muslim women aged 15-49 have undergone FGM, compared to 54.2% of Orthodox women and 65.8% of Protestant women.

Trends in FGM Prevalence

Trends in FGM Prevalence

Between 2005 and 2016, the overall prevalence for women aged 15-49 fell from 74.3% to 65.2%.  Due to the large age-range of women included, however, the overall prevalence alone may not fully reflect the progress that has been made in recent years.  Breaking down the most recent data by age group shows that the prevalence for women aged 45-49 is 75.3%, while for the youngest age group this has fallen to 47.1%. Despite the fact that a small proportion of women may be cut after the age of 15, the lower prevalences among younger women suggest that the practice is declining.

FGM Legislation in Ethiopia

The main law governing FGM in Ethiopia is Proclamation No. 414/2004, the Criminal Code of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia 2004.  Articles 561–570 are relevant to FGM, but law enforcement is weak and few cases reach court.

See Ethiopia: The Law and FGM for more detail.


Research and resources for Ethiopia