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Female Genital Mutilation needs to stop

To date, 200 million girls have been subjected to FGM, with 3 million girls in Africa are at risk of being mutilated every year.

There is really no way of sugar-coating the reasons why one of the most severe violent acts against girls and women has not been eradicated across the world. February 6 marks the United Nations' International Day of Zero Tolerance Toward FGM, with this year's focus being on 'Unleashing Youth Power'. As the UN works to eradicate FGM by 2030, it is crucial that the world never stops to be educated on this global issue; that awareness rising initiatives and protection programmes are never stopped until the practice is made severely illegal in every single country.

However, we have a long road ahead still, which is precisely why this year's focus is on mobilising youth power and education. As the UN writes, "With significant population growth, especially among youth, investing in young people becomes indispensable."

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The good

the number of girls undergoing FGM has fallen dramatically in east Africa over the past two decades

According to ActionAid, which is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty, FGM has fallen from 71.4 per cent in 1995, to 8 per cent in 2016. In Somaliland alone, 98 per cent of 15 to 19-year-old girls have been subjected to FGM.

Like ActionAid, there are numerous organisations, charities and local initiatives around the world set to reach the UN goal to end Female Genital Mutilation by 2030. In order to do that, ActionAid and many of its peers believe that we need to systematically "talk openly about the damaging impacts of FGM with women, men, boys and girls, as well as influential members of the community, such as traditional elders and religious leaders." And ActionAid specifically works with local groups through training in the specific skills they need in order to raise awareness toward to severity of the act.

As ActionAid puts it, the ultimate goal is to have "whole communities say no to FGM."

Find out more about the work ActionAid does around the world and most importantly, how you can get involved.

The bad

to end fgm we need gender equality, and we're still a long way away

It's clear that in order to eradicate FGM we need to work across countries, communities and even interpersonally to first eradicate gender inequality. And the road ahead is long. According to research made by Do Something organisation:

1. Due to gender-based discrimination in our healthcare systems, a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth every 90 seconds.

2. 80 per cent of refugees and displaced people across the world are women, as violence such as sexual violence and rape are often used as a weapon against women and girls.

3. Women are rarely included in formal peace processes, and are systematically excluded from decision making processes in the government and military.

4. Women account for 70 per cent of the population living in absolute poverty (on less than $1.00 a day).

5. Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18.

6. 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime.

7. According to research, women currently make only 26 per cent of news media leaders globally.

It is our duty to address each and every one of the points outlined above in order to reach gender equality and with that eradicate FGM.


Internews amplifies women’s voices in the news and media

by Yair Oded

Internews is a non-profit organisation empowering women to assume leadership position in media and cover issues critical to them.
We've been on it for a while

Breasts as a reason to mutilate woman

by Frank Odenthal

Female genital mutilation is on the agenda of many organisations worldwide, both governmental and non-governmental. But the oppressive power of patriarchy comes in many forms. Breast ironing is one of them. According to the United Nations, it is one of the most under-reported crimes associated with gender-based violence.

Petition calls on Massachusetts lawmakers to ban female genital mutilation

by Yair Oded

Despite being referred to as “a grave violation of the human rights of girls and women” by the World Health Organisation and being banned by 59 countries and numerous international human rights treaties, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) continues to be practised around the world, across various cultures and religions.

Pause and retool war on female genital mutilation

by Bob Koigi

More than 200 million women and girls have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, where FGM is concentrated.
Country focus

Somaliland, situated in East Africa on the Gulf of Aden, has a population of 3 million citizens and a tumultuous history. Originally known as The Republic of Somaliland known as the Somaliland Protectorate during the British colonial rule from 1884 up until June 26, 1960 when Somaliland celebrated its independence. Only a few days later, on July 1st, it joined the former Italian Somalia to form the Somali Republic.

However despite hope and visions for a united nation, the union sparked a bloody civil war from 1980 until the final collapse of the Somali Republic, when a conference held in Burco on May 18th 1991 terminated the union and reinstated Somaliland’s sovereignty.

With much dispute, Somaliland is currently not internationally recognised as a country. It has a working political system, government institutions, a police force and its own currency. But despite that, media is still under government control with reports of journalists and independent media outlets being targeted when covering sensitive topics.