Key Findings

The prevalence of FGM in women aged 15–49 is 22.7%.  

80.1% of women and 79.7% of men do not think FGM should continue.

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FGM prevalence varies widely from 77.8% in the south to 6.0% in the centre


Most girls are cut before the age of 10 and around three-quarters (72.2%) by age 5


Over 50% of women aged 15–49 were ‘cut, flesh removed’


Almost all FGM is carried out by ‘traditional excisors’

Development Indicators


16,012,778 (as at 19 May 2017), with a 2.42% growth rate (2016 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate

42 deaths per 1,000 live births (2015)

Maternal Mortality Rate

315 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015)


57.7% of the total population aged 15 and over can read/write

Prevalence of FGM

Prevalence of FGM

The prevalence of FGM varies widely across Senegal, from 77.8% in the south to 6.0% in the centre. Over half of Senegal’s population live in rural areas, where FGM prevalence is 26.7%; in urban areas, it is 18.5%.

FGM prevalence also varies between peoples of different ethnic groups and religions. The highest-practising groups include the Mandigue (65.2%), Soninké (58.8%), Poular (52.0%) and Diola (54.5%).   The lowest prevalences are found among the Wolof (0.8%) and the Serer (0.9%), although these are based on very small sample sizes. Prevalence is just under 50% among Animists, 23% among Muslims and 11.7% among Christians. 13.7% of women and 15.2% of men believe FGM is a religious requirement.

The greatest support for the continuation of FGM is among young women aged 15–19 (27.7% in favour), the highest-practising ethnic groups, those living in rural areas and those surveyed who had little education or were in the lowest wealth quintile.

Trends in FGM Prevalence

Trends in FGM Prevalence

The prevalence of FGM in women (aged 15–49) is 22.7%.  This is a decrease from 28.2% in 2005.  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 26.0%, while for the youngest age group this has fallen to 20.6%. Despite the fact that a small proportion of women may be cut after the age of 15, the data suggests a trend towards lower prevalences for younger women.

FGM Legislation in Senegal

The first legislation in Senegal to expressly prohibit FGM was Article 299 bis, introduced in January 1999 into the 1965 Penal Code.  There appears to be weak law enforcement, and few cases have been brought to court since the legislation was introduced.

See Senegal: The Law and FGM for more detail.


Research and resources for Senegal