February 6th is the annual International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, an act that has severely affected about 200 million girls and women all around the world, according to the U.N. Sadly, although the act is globally condemned, many girls are at the risk of going through the humiliating and painful procedure, some 3.9 million girls were subjected to FGM in 2015 alone.
“Sustainable development demands full human rights for all women and girls. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development promises an end to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) practice by 2030.” – United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The response to today’s @Thunderclap on social media has been astounding and there is still time to sign up to post and reach over 1.6m people on @Twitter & @facebook at 2pm GMT today https://t.co/72ZxNYlx79 #EndFGM #MeTooFGM
— End FGM (@GMCEndFGM) February 6, 2018
This year, the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment urged people to use the #MeTooFGM to raise awareness about FGM and call on stopping the act.
On the day, human rights defenders from the world come together to convey a message to abandon FGM. They also call on gender equality in order to address sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls who already suffer from FGM consequences.
In Egypt, FGM is widespread. More than 90 percent of women have undergone the practice, according to a 2014 survey. The UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Program to Eliminate Female Genital Mutilation works with local partners and to help raise awareness about the harms caused by FGM.
Fatmah’s mother heard some of the messages from a local NGO and taught them to Fatmah. Today, at 13 years old, Fatmah has rejected FGM and is a passionate advocate for its elimination. “FGM is wrong and it has lots of harms,” she said.
FGM is internationally recognized as a human rights violation of women and girls. It mirrors the inequality between sexes and shows extreme forms of discrimination against females. The act is carried out on minors and young girls and violates a women’s rights to health, security, and physical integrity.