6 February 2017

Africa: World Must Make Faster Progress to End Female Genital Mutilation By 2030

Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation. Despite progress towards abolishing this violent practice, millions of girls will undergo FGM this year

It irreparably damages girls' bodies, inflicting excruciating pain. It causes extreme emotional trauma that can last a lifetime. It increases the risk of deadly complications during pregnancy, labor and childbirth, endangering both mother and child.

It robs girls of their autonomy and violates their human rights. It reflects the low status of girls and women and reinforces gender inequality, fueling intergenerational cycles of discrimination and harm.

It is female genital mutilation. And despite all the progress we have made toward abolishing this violent practice, millions of girls -- many of them under the age of 15 -- will be forced to undergo it this year alone. Sadly, they will join the almost 200 million girls and women around the world who are already living with the damage FGM causes - and whose communities are already affected by its impact.

In 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals recognized the close connection between FGM, gender inequality, and development - and reignited global action to end FGM by 2030.

In 2016, more than 2,900 communities, representing more than 8.4 million people living in countries where UNFPA and UNICEF work jointly to end FGM, declared they had abandoned the practice.

In 2017, we must demand faster action to build on this progress. That means calling on governments to enact and enforce laws and policies that protect the rights of girls and women and prevent FGM/C.

It means creating greater access to support services for those at risk of undergoing FGM and those who have survived it. It also means driving greater demand for those services, providing families and communities with information about the harm FGM causes - and the benefits to be gained by ending it.

And ultimately, it means families and communities taking action themselves and refusing to permit their girls to endure the violation of FGM.

Let us make this the generation that abolishes FGM once and for all - and in doing so, helps create a healthier, better world for all.

Africa

U.S., China Plus Russia in Africa - Will It Mean a 'Best Deal' for Africans?

The US has a new strategy for Africa to counter China and Russia. Rather than roll their eyes at the new scramble for… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2017 Thomson Reuters Foundation. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.