FGM being conducted on girls aged 4

Younger and younger girls are being subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM), according to one activist.

Somalian author and filmmaker Soraya Mire, who underwent the procedure herself when she was 13, has explained how laws outlawing the practice are causing villages and societies across Africa to conduct the acts on children between the ages of four and ten.

She explained some of the social barriers which women in African nations currently face, while giving a speech at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

FGM is seen as a test of marriageability in many cultures, with the measure of true femininity being associated with the level of mutilation that the women endure, said the campaigner.

Ms Mire described her experience of the practice, stating that as some of the 8,000 nerve endings in her clitoris were cut she screamed out hysterically, but nobody came to her aid - not even her own mother.

According to the World Health Organization, 140 million women have been subjected to similar pain, having undergone FGM themselves.