I am thrilled to report that Egypt has made it illegal to perform FGM. According to the BBC a ban was initially imposed 10 years ago but was still allowed to continue in the case of extraordinary circumstances. I personally cannot think of any medical condition that should require the disfigurement of female sex organs in this way. This decision comes on the heels of a public outcry in response to the death of a 12 year old girl.
Egypt's first lady, Susanne Mubarak, has spoken out strongly against female circumcision, saying that it is a flagrant example of continued physical and psychological violence against children which must stop.
The country's top religious authorities also expressed unequivocal support for the ban.
According to the Guardian, a 2005, research by Unicef found that 96% of Egyptian women aged 15 to 49 who had ever been married reported they had been circumcised. The Egyptian government says a more recent study found 50.3% of girls aged 10 to 18 had been circumcised.
As I posted in Does FGM Reduce Women to Sex Toys, FGM has a host of life long side effects that simply cannot be ignored in the name of tradition. It is my hope that other countries will follow Egypts lead, and seek to protect girls and women from this atrocity. May this be the first step on the long road to equality for the women of Egypt.