Also available on the Huffington Post
I want to end female genital mutilation (or cutting), I want to see it happen within a generation. I’ve just been with hundreds of people who share this ambition, including the first lady of Burkina Faso and the women’s minister of Niger. The annual meeting of the UN Commission of the Status of Women in New York has brought us together today.
Female genital cutting (FGC) has been neglected by the international community – and international development – for too long. Too little has been invested in stopping this practice – too little money, too little research, too little attention.
The time is ripe for change.
Niger has just seen a reduction of incidents of FGC by 50%. In Senegal, thousands of villages have abandoned the practice entirely. National laws have been put in place making FGC illegal in 25 African countries. And in December last year the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a global ban on FGC – a resolution championed by African countries.
The UK has a duty to get behind this momentum and do all we can to keep it going. We owe it to the millions of girls who are at risk of being cut every year. And this is why the UK, through the Department for International Development, will this year become the largest single investor in ending FGC.
I pay homage to the tireless efforts of NGOs and other governments who have fought FGC for years. Because of them, we’re at a tipping point. And I hope the UK’s new commitment will deliver the final blow.
Take a look at this map which shows UK government action to support and empower women across the globe.
Join our Facebook campaign to end violence against girls and women and call on the UN to take action.