UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations Children's Emergency Fund says that roughly two-thirds of people in countries where female genital mutilation is common oppose the practice and want it stopped.
According to figures released Friday, 67 percent of girls and women as wells as 63 percent of boys and men in countries with available data oppose the practice where parts of the female genitalia are removed. The practice is common in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
"Although female genital mutilation is associated with gender discrimination, our findings show that the majority of boys and men are actually against it," Francesca Moneti, UNICEF senior child protection specialist said in a statement.
In some countries, the practice is even less popular with men than among women.
The study found that in Guinea 46 percent of men opposed the practice compared with only 10 percent of women. In Sierra Leone 38 percent of men opposed it compared with 21 percent of women.
UNICEF estimates that at 200 million girls and women alive today in 30 countries around the world have undergone female genital mutilation.
The United Nations has said it aims to stamp out harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and child marriage by 2030.
"Unfortunately, individuals' desire to end female genital mutilation is often hidden, and many women and men still believe the practice is needed in order for them to be accepted in their communities," Moneti said.