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Opinion Pieces Recognize International Day For Zero Tolerance To Female Genital Mutilation

The International Day for Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was observed February 6. The following is a summary of opinion pieces and blog posts published in recognition of the day.

  • Efua Dorkenoo, TrustLaw Blog: Dorkenoo, a Ghanaian campaigner against FGM, recaps progress made against the practice in the past year and writes, “Although there have been noteworthy successes on the African continent, huge challenges continue to exist in all countries where FGM is still prevalent.” Adding that “a global movement for change is gathering pace,” she continues, “A world without FGM is in sight, but we need to redouble our efforts to ensure that both worldwide legislative change takes place and that educational efforts are drastically increased” (2/6).
  • Yasmeen Hassan, Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog: “The recent United Nations Global Ban, an African-led resolution calling on all member states to criminalize FGM, signals the aspiration for international consensus on ending FGM at the highest level,” Hassan, the global director of Equity Now, writes. “While recognition of FGM as a violation of human rights at the highest levels is a big step in the right direction, … [t]o make lasting change for girls, first, governments need the political will to match their words with action,” she writes. “Second, the efforts of grassroots activists fighting against FGM must be supported”; and, “Third, efforts to end FGM must be rooted in the recognition that FGM arises due to gender inequality and the lower status of women in society,” she adds (2/6).
  • Sandra Jordan, USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: “Significant efforts have been made at the community, national, and international levels to address the issue of FGM/C,” but “work still lies ahead,” Jordan, senior technical adviser for external relations at USAID, writes and highlights a number of policies and initiatives aimed at eliminating the practice. “We must all work together — men, women, grandfathers, grandmothers, community and religious leaders, government, civil society, and multilateral organizations — to overturn deeply entrenched social norms that are not only harmful to women and girls, but to our communities and societies” (2/5).
  • Katherine Marshall, Huffington Post’s “Religion” blog: Noting the U.N. resolution to ban FGM/C and the international day “to observe the commitment,” Marshall, a senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, writes, “What comes next? The U.N. resolution has a moral force but no legal teeth or enforcement capacity.” She states, “Efforts to end FGC are at least a century old,” adding, “[T]he issue has to stay on the top of the priority list or action will languish” (2/6).
  • Farahnaz Zahidi Moazza, Express Tribune’s “Welcome to Pakistan” blog: “In Pakistan, female circumcision is practiced by a few communities along the Iran-Balochistan border, and a few isolated tribes, as well as the Dawoodi Bohra community,” Moazza, a writer at the Express Tribune, writes. “While the ‘elders’ of the families often insist it be done, some women are now questioning the idea, including young women who have not yet gone under the knife,” she notes. “Female genital mutilation is one of the best kept secrets … But the time may have come to uncover the unspeakable. The time to talk about it may just have arrived,” she states (2/6).
  • Ann-Marie Wilson, Huffington Post U.K.’s “Impact” blog: “There was good progress during 2012 towards raising the profile of FGM,” but “[w]e are optimistic that even more can be done in 2013 to bring about the elimination of” the practice, Wilson, founder and director of 28 Too Many, writes. “It will not be easy to make progress but now is the time to build on what has already been achieved and accelerate the pace of change,” she continues, adding, “My vision is for the world to be a place where every woman is safe, healthy and lives free from FGM. … Let’s help them end FGM in their lifetime” (6/2).