US steps up to the plate to talk about ending FGC

Hot on the heels of the UK Government….

So followers of this blog will know that last week on Monday 6th February, we held an event in the House of Commons and had strong and positive encouragement from the UK Government that more would be done, particularly overseas, to help end female genital cutting.

Yesterday, it was the turn of the US Government. Never mind that they were 10 days after International Day of 6th February – the tone and breadth of Secretary Clinton’s remarks were a joy for anyone working seriously on this issue. Here is one excerpted passage that stood out for me:

I think that for me, the honest and direct conversation that we are having, especially hearing from those with firsthand experience, is what makes this different. Our partners from the UN will be leading efforts to raise international awareness. We will be looking at laws and resolutions. We will be looking at what can be done in families and villages. We will be making the case, this is not a women’s problem, this is not a women’s issue. This affects the human family, and therefore, we all have a stake in it. When a mother dies in childbirth due to complications caused by FGM, everyone in the family suffers. When women are sick from infections or girls miss out on their education, communities also suffer. And what we have seen in Senegal and elsewhere is that when men understand the trauma that FGC causes, they are among the most effective activists for ending it.

So we’re elevating this issue, but it’s part of our overall elevation of the role of women and girls in our foreign policy economically, strategically, politically. Every aspect of our policy is intending to highlight and promote the role of women. And we are funding community-based programs that involve women and men in public awareness campaigns about the dangers of FGC. We’re working in refugee camps and other humanitarian settings. Through USAID, the United States cofounded the international Donors Working Group on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, which needs continued high-level international support, and we will redouble our efforts.

It seems support really is growing and what we need now is more of the bilateral donors to seize the opportunity, take a look at the existing momentum and invest in the success that could lead to FGC ending in the next generation.

At least, that’s what Orchid will be pushing for!