11.5 million

Estimated prevalence among girls and women aged 15-49


2018 population growth rate


Estimated prevalence among girls and women aged 15-19


Type practised

Girls in Benin commonly undergo female genital cutting (FGC) Type II procedures.

[Source: UNICEFDHS and MICS]


85.3% of women aged 15-49 who have undergone FGC were cut before the age of 15.


Almost all FGC in Benin is carried out by traditional practitioners.

Legal status

Illegal. Since March 2003, the law in Benin has prohibited the practice of FGC.

Penalties range from fines for failing to report FGC to imprisonment of up five years for those who aid, abet or carry out the procedure. Where FGC results in a woman or girl’s death, the punishment ranges from five to 25 years’ forced labour.

Actual cases in which these laws were enforced have not been identified, however.

National progress

  • 1983 – the President of Benin publicly spoke out against the practice of FGC at the Constitutive National Congress of the Organization of Revolutionary Women of Benin
  • 2000 – several traditional authorities, i.e. chiefs and kings, denounced the practice in a joint statement
  • 2003 – Law No. 2003-03 on the Suppression of Female Genital Mutilation in the Republic of Benin was enacted
  • 2012 – Law No. 2011-26 on the Prevention and Repression of Violence Against Women reinforced the 2003 legislation
  • Law No. 2015-08 of the Children’s Code in the Republic of Benin referred directly to FGC performed on girls

Source: 28 Too Many

Human Development Index ranking

163 in 2018 index, based on 2017 data.

Infant mortality rate

64 deaths per 1,000 live births (2015).

Maternal mortality rate

405 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015).

Trends in FGC prevalence

There was a modest fall in overall prevalence from 12.9% in 2006 to 7.3% in 2011-12.  This figure may not fully reflect the progress that has been made recently, due to the large age range of women included in the data. Among younger women the data suggest a clear downward trend. 

Source: 28 Too Many

Prevalence breakdown

By region:

Within Benin, the areas of highest FGC prevalence are in the north:  Borgou (41.4%), Alibori (26.2%), Donga (26.0%) and Atacora (14.4%).  They sit in contrast with Couffo province, in which no instances of FGC are recorded, and six of the remaining 12 departments, in which FGC prevalence is less than 1%.  

Practising ethnic groups

Peulh, Borgou, Lokpa and Yoa, Donga