2.9 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

Type II is the most commonly practised form of female genital cutting (FGC) in Yemen. Type III is also practised by a small group of East African immigrant/refugee communities within Yemen.


85% of girls undergo FGC in the first week after their birth.

Source: UNFPA-UNICEF, based on DHS 2013


Traditional practitioners.


Legal status

Legal. As present there is no law that bans FGC in Yemen. There was a ministerial decree, effective January 2001 that prohibited the practice in government and private health facilities.

National progress

  • 2001 – Ban on FGC by medical professionals
  • 2008 – Multi-faceted plan designed to reduce incidences of FGC by 30% by 2012
  • 2009 – FGC section removed from a Safe Motherhood Law
  • 2014 – Revival of efforts to outlaw FGC in Yemen, via the proposed Child Rights Act
  • 2017 – FGC included in national strategy on reproductive health
  • 2017 – Reproductive Maternal Newborn Health and Advocacy Strategy, 2017-2021

UN programme

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen – including war, famine and a cholera outbreak – has meant that efforts to end FGC are severely hindered. Support from the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme has therefore mainly focused on building capacity of service providers and working with communities to shift social norms.


Human Development Index ranking

178 in 2018 index, based on 2017 data.

Infant mortality rate

43 deaths per 1,000 births.

Source: Human Development Index, 2016

Maternal mortality rate

385 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Source: Human Development Index, 2015

Trends in FGC prevalence

FGC in Yemen appears to have been showing some signs of decline before the most recent humanitarian crisis. Political instability, poverty, illiteracy and gender disparity, as well religious and community leaders’ support for FGC, are all significant challenges.


Prevalence breakdown

By region:

There are significant regional differences in prevalence. Eastern regions have the highest rates at over 85%, while an area to the far west of Yemen has a rate of 51-70%.

Source: UNICEF, based on DHS 2013, UNFPA-UNICEF