Today is The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Typically taking place during rite of passage ceremonies into womanhood, FGM is ultimately a way to control girls’ and women’s sexuality. There are no health benefits, only harm.
Equality Now and our partners want to amplify the voices of women and girls who are championing efforts to address FGM in their communities and provide readers with actions they can take to end this human rights abuse. For International Day of Zero Tolerance, we’re sharing Miatta* from the United States’ story. Miatta was just 12 years old when she went on vacation with her parents and little sister to Sierra Leone – so excited to have the chance to visit a country and relatives she had never met. What started out as a joyous time, however, turned into something else.
“When we got to Sierra Leone, my whole family was waiting at the airport…Once they were done with their tears and embracing each other, they finally noticed me and my sister. Evidently, we came to Sierra Leone during “bundu” season, based on what my grandmother said. When she mentioned “bundu”, my dad flipped…”
After reading Mitta’s powerful testimony, please stand with Miatta, her little sister Majo and the 200 million women and girls affected by female genital mutilation around the world. The global movement to end FGM in a generation is accelerating. More and more communities are using alternative rites of passage – without the cut – and governments are passing and implementing laws to end FGM and putting resources behind it. Help us make sure this momentum continues.
FGM is a global issue that needs a global solution, but last year a group of UN Member States proposed to measure FGM in only “relevant countries” as part of the FGM indicator in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – goals which will guide global development and funding until 2030. With your support, Equality Now and our partners advocated for removal of the restriction – a restriction that would have directly affected Miatta and her sister, as the U.S., for example, would have been excluded. The UN Expert Group responded by recommending a global indicator with no restrictions.
In March, a United Nations Commission will finalize the indicators which will then be adopted by all UN member states. What gets measured, gets funded, gets done. Please join us in calling for the adoption of a global indicator so that no girl or woman is left behind and uncounted! #EndFGM
*Name has been changed