Genital mutilation - soon just a memory?

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Photo: Science Museum, London / Wellcome Images

The first time I can remember hearing about genital mutilation I was 10 years old and could not grasp what it actually meant. 14 years later, I read into the subject as a background for an essay. Now I understand. At the same time, the world becomes more comprehensible and even more disgusting.

The woman's right to her own body is one of the most important pillars for gender equality work. The same goes for girls. No one, regardless of religion, nationality or age, should be subjected to violations of their own bodily integrity. But it happens. More than two million girls aged 4-11 are genitally mutilated each year, according to figures from Unicef.

Today, according to WHO estimates, 200 million girls and women who have been subjected to some form of genital mutilation live. The tradition is performed in several different countries and cultures. Despite the fact that there is no support in the religion, the tradition lives on. In addition to violating girls' and women's human rights, genital mutilation is a major risk to health: Pain, stress and infections are a risk, as are mental health problems, bleeding, infertility and death.

But it is a suffering that can end. And a lot of work is being done to stop it, both among organizations and countries. An organization working on the issue, Tostan, has, in collaboration with the local population, persuaded 7000 villages in several African countries to abandon the tradition. Several countries, such as Ethiopia, Egypt and Burkina Faso, have also adopted legislation banning genital mutilation.

Unicef ​​has also developed an action plan for how genital mutilation could be abolished within a generation. What is needed are resources aimed at all those who work at a local level for girls' and women's human rights. With the right commitment from civil society and from the world community as a whole, it is possible to stop.

No girl should have to have her sex mutilated. It is a violation of human rights that must be stopped, now.

This is a chronicle. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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