Prevalence is marginally higher among nomadic populations (99.7%), but universally high in all locations
Most girls are cut between the ages of 10 and 14
Most women have undergone Type III FGM (infibulation/‘sewn closed’), which is also known as Pharaonic FGM
Predominantly traditional practitioners, but medicalised FGM is on the rise
11–12 million (2019), with a 2.21% growth rate (2020 est.)
85 deaths per 1,000 live births (2015)
692 deaths per 100,000 live births
40% (female – 36.2%; male – 43.8%)
In 2006, prevalence in the South/Central Zone was 99.2% and in 2011 in the North-East Zone (Puntland) it was 98% (women aged 15–49). There is no geographical breakdown available for the prevalence in 2020.
Across both Somalia and Somaliland, women who live in rural areas are only slightly more likely to undergo FGM than those who live in urban areas. The prevalence is highest among nomadic women, but is universally high (over 98%) among women living in all areas.
76.4% of women believe that FGM should continue and 18.9% believe that it should not.
While support for Type III (Pharaonic) FGM has declined in recent years, other types of FGM referred to as ‘Sunni’ remain popular. More than four in five women in the oldest age group experienced Pharaonic cutting, compared to less than half of women in the youngest age group.
FGM prevalence among women aged 15–49 has remained broadly consistent for some time.
Breaking down the 2020 data by age group shows that the prevalence for women aged 45–49 is 99.8%, while for the youngest age group it is 98.8%, but some women over the age of 15 may yet be cut.
FGM Legislation in Somalia
See Somalia: The Law and FGM for more detail.