The UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Program to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is the largest global program supporting the abandonment of the practice, and through that, advancing the human rights, health and well-being of women and girls worldwide. It is estimated that ending FGM by 2030 in 31 priority countries will require an investment totaling $2.4 billion, equal to USD 0.03 per year for every person in the world. Significant progress has been made with the protection of more than 3.2 million women and girls since the program was started in 2008, but more needs to be done! According to a recent statement of the Joint Program, “Even as the practice has declined in 10 program countries, growing populations create an imperative for accelerated progress. By 2030, 1 in 3 of the world’s girls will be born in the 30 countries where FGM is prevalent. That means as many as 68 million girls aged 0-15 may face FGM over the next 12 years.”
There is a good side to the story as well. Alabama recently passed FGM legislation which now leaves 9 states in the US without specific FGM legislation. Egypt, a country with a prevalence of 87% and a high percentage of medicalization of FGM, has strengthened legislation and is actively creating more awareness of the issue in the country.
Women increasingly become more empowered to share their stories and through that, implore us to listen to what they have to say, to become aware of FGM at a global level and to take action. In the article, Just a Slice of Skin, Mariya Taher and Aarefa Johari share their stories, when at the age of seven, they both went through the Dawoodi Bohra tradition called khatna, known to the rest of the world as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or Female Genital Cutting (FGC).
The sharing of stories helps to bring the issue of FGM out into the open. Please read these stories, discuss them, pass them on. The discomfort of speaking about FGM will diminish the more it is spoken about and the less it is kept under cover. With 68 million girls possibly facing FGM over the next 12 years, we cannot afford to be silent. FAWCO women have time and again proven themselves to be formidable, and we must remain formidable in the fight for women’s and girls’ rights. Become informed, and inform!
- Regards from the Target Team