Female genital mutilation (FGM) is finally front page news.
The UK government has just promised to end the dangerous practice before 2030.
Penny Mordaunt, the UK’s international development secretary, made the announcement on February 6 — the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.
“This is not just a problem overseas,” Mordaunt wrote in the Evening Standard. “It’s an issue in London too.”
“Only by ending the practice globally, with UK aid invested in the right places, will we eliminate the risk to girls in our country.”
Previously, the Department for International Development (DfID) had promised to end FGM within a generation. The latest announcement brings that timeline forward in line with the global sustainable development goals (SDGs).
FGM is the non-medical practice that intentionally removes female genital organs.
It can have serious consequences for health, including issues with sex, urination, menstruation, pregnancy, and more.
Over 200 million girls and women have undergone the practice around the world — and an additional 3 million are still expected to be cut every single year. But it’s also a British, German, Canadian, and American issue — at least 137,000 women live with its effects in the UK with over 5,000 new cases found last year alone, and an additional 24,000 are reportedly at risk.
Related Stories Tab: FGM Among Us — Real Stories from Germany, Canada, and the US
Global Citizen just launched a 6-month multimedia investigative reporting project on FGM in the UK on Feb. 6 — which included the words of experts and activists like Leyla Hussein, to draw attention to the fact that FGM is far closer than we might think.
In her opinion piece, Mordaunt also called for global unity on the issue. While Britain takes the lead in tackling FGM, she said, it was vital that other countries followed suit. The UK has been working with the Orchid Project, a London based anti-FGM charity, to encourage others to join the movement — and UK aid has also played its part.
“In 2013 the UK made the largest ever donor commitment to the Africa-led movement to end FGM, backing efforts across 17 countries,” Mordaunt wrote. “I am proud that UK aid has supported the Girl Generation to help over 650 grassroots organisations in Africa to join the largest-ever, and still growing, movement to end FGM.”
While the fresh commitment doesn’t actually include new investment, Canada pledged £2.1 million this week in a 4-year project to fight FGM in West Africa — the first time the federal government has specifically targeted it abroad.
We will #EndFGM by 2030, #UKaid helping a global partnership to stop this violent violation of girl’s rights. 24k girls at risk in UK, 70 million globally over that time. @NHSEngland@educationgovuk@DFID_UKhttps://t.co/BCzU7Jk2jB— Penny Mordaunt MP (@PennyMordaunt) February 6, 2018
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