Key Findings

The prevalence of FGM in women aged 15–49 is 91.4% (excluding northern regions – see below).

71.9% of women aged 15–49 and 79.1% of men aged 15–59 believe that FGM should continue.

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The regions with the highest prevalence are in the south-south-west of the country


FGM is most likely to take place before the age of 5


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


88.1% of women aged 15-49 were cut by traditional cutters

Development Indicators


18,601,096 (as at 31 May 2017), with a 2.96% growth rate (2016 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate

75 deaths per 1,000 live births (2015)

Maternal Mortality Rate

587 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015)


38.7% of the total population aged 15 and over can read/write

Prevalence of FGM

Prevalence of FGM

The regions with the highest prevalence of FGM are in the south-south-west:  Kayes (94.7% of women aged 15–49), Koulikoro (94.3%) and Sikasso (90.9%).

It should be noted that the figure of 91.4% for overall prevalence of FGM in Mali does not include three regions in the north (Timbouctou, Kidal and Gao), which could not be surveyed by the DHS in 2012–2013 due to armed conflict in the area.  Previous surveys have found those three regions to be lower prevalence than the rest of the country, which suggests that if they had been included in the most recent DHS report, the overall prevalence for the country would have been lower than 91.4%.  When adjusted to exclude those three regions, the overall prevalence for women aged 15–49 reported in the previous DHS (in 2006) is 92%, showing almost no change.  There is little difference in prevalence between urban areas, rural areas and the capital city of Bamako.

The ethnic group with highest prevalence of FGM is the Sarakolé/Soninké/Marka, at 96% of women aged 15–49, and the ethnic group with the lowest prevalence is Tamachek/Bélla, at 62.7%.  Although only a small number of women from the Tamachek/Bélla were surveyed, it is worth noting that in countries such as Burkina Faso there is a low prevalence of FGM among the Bélla.

FGM is practised across all the major religions:  92.8% of Muslim women aged 15–49 have been cut, as have 77.2% of Animiste women and 65.2% of Christian women.  Of women who do not adhere to any major faith, 91.4% have undergone FGM.

70.7% of women aged 15–49 and 66.2% of men aged 15–59 believe that FGM is required by their religion.  71.9% of women aged 15–49 and 79.1% of men aged 15–59 believe that FGM should continue.

FGM Legislation in Mali

There is currently no national legislation in Mali that specifically criminalises and punishes the practice of FGM.  There have been many attempts over the years to introduce a ban on FGM; most recently, in July 2017, a draft law to address gender-based violence (including FGM) was put forward, although it faces objections and has yet to be passed.

See Mali: The Law and FGM for more detail.

For the French translation, see Mali: La Loi et Les MGF.


Research and resources for Mali