While I do not claim to be fully informed on the subject of female genital cutting (or mutilation) and recognize that there are a lot of cultural traditions that are difficult for those of us in the U.S. to understand, I believe this is a practice that comes out of male dominance and control of the female population. I realize women support it in many places, but it has more to do with cultural acceptance and marriage possibilities than that it enhanced their lives. One sociologist purporting tolerance equated it with female genital cosmetic surgeries in the U.S. The difference (in my mind) is the cosmetic surgeries are completely voluntary and done on consenting adults. In most countries FGM/C is done on girls from infants to young teens or as a right of passage into womanhood at the onset of puberty.
The information below is from the U.S. Department of State with a link to a panel discussion on the topic that will air tomorrow:
“In observance of the tenth anniversary of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer will deliver remarks and lead a panel discussion on February 6 at 9:30 a.m. in the Loy Henderson Auditorium. To raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of FGM/C and discuss efforts and solutions to address this harmful traditional practice, Ambassador Verveer will be joined by leaders and practitioners in the field including: The Honorable Amina Salum Ali, Ambassador of the African Union to the United States; Dr. Nawal Nour of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA; Bakary Tamba of the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Tostan in Senegal; and Jessie Hexpoor of the NGO Hivos in the Netherlands.”
Follow the event @S_GWI and hashtags #EndFGM/C and #ZTD on Twitter.
The program will also be webcast live for international audiences at URL: http://conx.state.gov/digital-diplomacy