Shattering the Silence Surrounding FGM
Globally, at least 200 million girls
and women today have undergone some form of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). While there has been an overall decline in the prevalence of FGM across countries, this progress is likely to be offset by rapid population growth in countries where FGM occurs, unless efforts to eliminate the practice are renewed, and urgently stepped up. A 2016 report of the UN Secretary-General shows the single largest factor influencing the continuation of FGM to be the desire for social acceptance and avoidance of social stigma. The social norms, customs and values that condone FGM are multi-faceted, vary across countries and even between communities, and can change over time. This presents a powerful and complex challenge for all those engaged in the effort to end FGM - just like Janet Anyango, Programme Officer with the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Kenya. In this one on one the activist talks about what it will take to end the harmful practice.
“I am focused more on prevention of this harmful practice; to stop it before we have to ‘cure’ it.”
Marching With The Multitudes… For Rights, Democracy
The atmosphere was one of energy,
community, and hope. On the mall in Washington, DC, prolific signs, some serious and many hilarious, gave rise to cheers and photo ops. ‘We Shall Overcomb!’ ‘You can’t comb over climate change!’ ‘I wish my uterus shot bullets so it wouldn’t be regulated!’ ‘Exercise Respect or Expect Resistance!’ ‘Immigrants Make America Great!’ ‘I can’t believe I Have to March Again about this stuff!’ ‘Tinkler, Traitor, Groper, Spy.’ People arrived, most on foot, some with walkers or in wheelchairs, little ones in strollers, elders in bicycle rickshaws. As more and more people converged, one was reminded of Gandhi’s Salt March in India. Then as now, people flowed like rivers joining a swelling sea of humanity. The crowd grew larger and larger. Strangers hugged each other, laughed together, shared knowing smiles. It felt like one big family reunion. The day after Donald Trump’s inauguration women’s marches took place on every continent and in at least 700 locations around the world. The turnout and global solidarity was unprecedented, and deeply important: it signaled a turning point and a resistance movement that could well safeguard democracy.
“We are here. We are there. We are everywhere. And we are not going away!” We are your mothers, your wives, your sisters, your daughters, your granddaughters, your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues. We roar and we vote. And we are not going back.