Female Genital Mutilation: A ‘Tradition Not Worth Holding on To’


US Committed to End FGM/C

Committed to end the silence of Female Genital Mutilation or FGM/C within communities, US Deputy Representative Stefanie Amadeo today reiterated Obama’s message that such practice is a “tradition not worth holding on to.”

At the OIC Event on Female Genital Mutilation in New York City, Ms. Amadeo said tens of millions of girls and women suffer from Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting throughout Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Affirming it as an inhuman practice, Ms. Amadeo stated that immigrant families from those regions to the United States and Europe have brought this distressing issue to the attention of governments throughout the world.

“As President Obama noted in July 2015 during a town hall with some of the Young African Leaders Initiative , YALI, students, this is a “tradition not worth holding on to.” – Ms. Amadeo

How US Addresses FGM/C

According to Ms. Amadeo, the U.S. addresses FGM/C internationally through three tools: diplomacy, policy, and programming.

Information drive is vital to end the practice by the US annual Human Rights Reports, which now include information on whether FGM/C is prevalent, the type and category of genital cutting most common, as well as international and governmental efforts being taken to address the practice.

In addition, the US has social media campaigns on the International Day of Zero Tolerance which reach millions of followers around the world.

Also, the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally, launched in 2012, recognizes FGM/C as a form of gender-based violence and a harmful practice that requires a multi-sector response – one that includes community-led responses, a change in social norms, and political commitment.

evil tradition.png
An evil tradition not worth holding on to.

On Advancing Rights of Women and Girls

The United States of America has been the frontrunner in upholding the rights of women and girls. That is why the U.S. commitment to ending FGM/C is rooted in efforts to protect and advance the rights of women and girls globally.

“We are working towards the global elimination of FGM/C through multiple approaches.” – Ms. Amadeo

To reinforce this commitment, the US fosters constructive legal and policy frameworks by supporting host country legislation against the practice of FGM/C, and support community-based programming to raise awareness on the harmful effects of FGM/C in regions where the practice is prevalent.

Partnering With African Community

According to Ms. Amadeo, the US is launching a new program dedicated to addressing this issue in Guinea, partnering with the Government and with multilateral and civil society actors in eight districts – impacting up to 65,000 girls through community awareness and capacity- building efforts.

Also, from 2011-2013, the U.S. supported the development of seven FGM/C free villages in Kurdistan, through grassroots development and increased awareness regarding the health and economic consequences of FGM/C.

Promoting Abolishment of FGM/C

FGM is performed on girls in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation is a UN-sponsored awareness day that takes place February 6 each year. It is an effort to make the world aware of female genital cutting and to promote its abolishment.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other non-medical injury to the female genital organs. FGM is carried out for cultural and religious traditions, but is internationally recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

FGM is associated with anachronistic cultural values of femininity and modesty – often considered a necessary part of raising a girl properly and preparing her for adulthood and marriage. It is this aspect that makes it that much harder to fight. But the battle has been on for years now, with concerted efforts being made to spread awareness about FGM’s life altering ill-effects for women.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.