The WomanStats team is busy with preparations for the Beijing +20 conference that will be held in New York City next March. As always, we are dedicated to helping policy-makers access the data they need to make informed decisions about women’s security. You can bet that we will be at the Beijing +20 conference, doing everything in our power to help international leaders see that protecting and supporting women makes any nation more prosperous and secure—and conversely, that the persecution of women undermines national security in disastrous ways.
The Beijing +20 committee has decided to focus the month of October to eliminating “all forms of discrimination against the girl child,” including—
- negative cultural attitudes and practices against girls
- discrimination against girls in education, skills development and training
- discrimination against girls in health and nutrition
- the economic exploitation of child labour and protect young girls at work
- violence against the girl child
To this end, we would like to highlight one serious issue facing girls that we see in our research every day: female genital mutilation. We are grateful that more people have begun discussing this issue. Earlier this year, for example, President Obama announced that the U.S. will conduct a major study of the FGM problem within its borders. And sadly just this month, 467 new cases of FGM were discovered in the UK—adding to the 1,279 women who were already receiving treatment. More and more people are realizing the scale of this problem.
In support of the Beijing +20 initiative, and in light of the new developments in FGM awareness this year, we made an infographic using some facts from our database. We hope this will help you better understand what FGM is, and why it is such a serious health risk for women and families. Please take the time to share this on social media—post, tweet—whatever it takes to get the word out!
As for us, we will continue making the connections that will convince even the most skeptical policy-makers that protecting women is in everyone’s best interest.
If you would like more information on FGM or other forms of mutilation, dive into our database. Here are the variables to look for:
- INFIB-PRACTICE-1: What is the attitude toward these practices, and how are laws against them enforced? Are there class or regional or religious or ethnic differences in practice? Are there reasons given for the practice?
- INFIB-LAW-1: What are the laws regarding these practices? Also, are there any government policies aimed at mitigating these practices?
- INFIB-DATA-1: What is the most frequent type of infibulation / FGC practiced, if any? What other types of practices exist within the society? Include practices that mutilate female anatomy besides traditional FGC; for example, “breast ironing” in West Africa.
- INFIB-DATA-2: Prevalence data. Among other relevant pieces of information, such as actual percentages of women circumcised/infibulated, indicates prevalence of these practices based on three categories— (1) frequent or common, (2) occasional (not rare) and regional only, and (3) rare or never.
We have also created a map that compares levels of FGM worldwide. Please use it in your research and advocacy!