Saturday, February 6 is the United Nations International Day for Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It’s estimated that over 200 million women across 30 countries have been victims of FGM and live with this trauma every day.
OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says FGM, along with all other forms of gender-based violence, must end.
“OPSEU/SEFPO joins the many voices who are loudly speaking out against this human rights violation,” said Thomas. “This inhumane practice must end.”
In countries where FGM is a social norm, the pressure to conform keeps this violent act going. The need for social acceptance combined with the fear of rejection by one’s community are strong motivators that leads to the continuation of this harmful practice.
OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says the only way to end FGM is for everyone to join in solidarity and speak with one voice against this act of misogyny.
“Only by showing united opposition to those who condone female genital mutilation will we be able to end it,” said Almeida. “We must not allow violence against women to be the norm in any country.”
In the countries where FGM occurs, this attempt to control female sexuality has been veiled by referring to it as a ‘rite of passage’ for young girls. The health ramifications from FGM include infections, hemorrhaging, childbirth issues (from conceiving to delivering), varying levels of shock (physical, mental, emotional), and in some cases death.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated, and FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.
“This information from the WHO is staggering,” said Dianne Clarabut, Chair of OPSEU/SEFPO’s Provincial Women’s Committee (PWC). “FGM is a violent and unnecessary procedure and it should be outlawed for the safety and future of all girls,” she added.
For more information on FGM: