Nigeria Takes a Step Forward for Women and Girls


Just when you thought the War on Women couldn’t get any worse, and that you have heard of everything, in April of this year, there were Federal charges brought against a doctor in Detroit, Michigan, USA, who works in an emergency room.  She had been arrested and charged with performing Female Genital Mutilation on two 7-year-old little girls.

Women in the United States have been fighting to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation from the world since the early 1990’s.  It is a terrible practice, done to control women and girls.  It is what makes women marriageable in many cultures in Africa, some parts of Asia, and parts of the Middle East.

As people immigrate to America, they bring a lot of pieces of their culture with them.  America has always been enriched by the cultures of other nations, but this is not a piece of culture that is enriching.  It is a method of subjugating girls and women.  It is against Federal and State laws.

The countries of the world have begun to respond to the outcries against this horrible practice.

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan fell from power in 2015.  This was due largely to the fact that he seemed to be unable to search for or find the almost 300 Chibok schoolgirls abducted and enslaved by the Boko Haram.  Jonathan did, however, sign a law banning Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).  This law also makes it illegal for men to abandon their wives and children without financial support.

This is a huge advance for women’s rights in Nigeria.

The United Nations, in 2014, confirmed what has long been known — FGM causes psychological and physical damage, including: infertility, loss of sexual pleasure, severe infections, fistulas, endangered childbirth labor and death.  In 2017, it is estimated that nearly 25% of Nigerian women are enduring the effects of the procedure.

The British newspaper, The Guardian, joined the United Nations in an effort to fight FGM.  With the support of the UN Population Fund, the paper helped local journalists cover the after effects of the procedure.  The new law in Nigeria can partly be credited for playing a part in this fight.

There have been at least five decades of humanitarian work on this issue in regional African and Middle Eastern women’s movements.  Feminists and the global women’s movement have also worked to end the horror of FGM.

This practice has also been confronted by women’s rights activists in the global North, where it occurs in some immigrant communities.  Even in the United States, where the procedure is called clitoridectomy, it is practiced as a “cure” for masturbation, lesbianism and to make a young girl marriageable.

Activists in Nigeria warn FGM in Nigeria and other African countries is a systemic culturally ingrained practice, and that eradicating it will take time.

With such a large population, Nigerian’s voice in favor of women and girls is very important.  Mary Wandia, FGM program manager of the International NGO Equality Now, states “We hope that other African countries, that have yet to ban FGM – Liberia, Sudan, Mali, among others – do so immediately to give all girls a basic level of protection.”

Stella Mukasa, Director of Gender, Violence and Rights at the International Center for Research on Women, adds, in Christian Today, “It is crucial that we scale up efforts to change traditional cultural views that underpin violence against women.  Doing so involves laws and policies, as well as community-level engagement and programs that work to empower girls directly.”

There is still much work yet to be done, but the new law is encouraging.  It gives young Nigerian women opportunities to express themselves free from fear of this traditional practice which has been so oppressive to their health and spirit.  This practice has been handed down from one generation to the next by mothers and is usually performed by a wise woman, or a wise man, in the tribes.  It is done without sterile conditions, anesthesia, or proper equipment.  Usually, a straight razor is used.  The child is unprepared emotionally for the procedure.

The actual procedure varies from place to place. Some tribes cut out the clitoris only; others remove both clitoris and labia.  Still others would have nothing left but the meatus so that the child can urinate.  This it the reason these girls were considered marriageable, because this has been performed on them, so that they didn’t enjoy sex too much.  It gave the husband a sense of security when he traveled, that he could leave the wife at home and she would not turn to another man for satisfaction.  He could therefore be sure that any children would be of his bloodline and no one else’s.

The mentality of the mothers who brought their daughters for the procedure is that it was done to them, so it should be done to their daughters.  Therefore, education is a vital part of the process of eradicating FGM, as is more sex education for both genders.  This can help lead to a freedom from the pain, humiliation, pain and degradation of FGM.

The decades of work done to stop FGM, and the work that is presently being done, which must continue into the future to save girls from this violence against them, is one of the most important humanitarian efforts being done on behalf of women and girls.

With its new law, Nigeria joined 23 African countries in banning Female Genital Mutilation.  At least 200 million women and girls, worldwide, have already suffered genital mutilation and its long term consequences.  Nigeria’s law is good next step, but we still have far to g0.

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

 

 

Every one of us can make a difference in the world!

Egypt to toughen penalties on Female Genital Mutilation


 

FGM or female genital mutilation is difficult to end. It has been happening for centuries and it is very entrenched in the culture of Middle Eastern countries. It is something pushed by the men in many families and the village rulers. They feel they will have more control over a woman who is unable to enjoy sex. Husbands feel that their wives will be more faithful when they are away.

 

Some men have their wives sewn shut except for a small hole for them to pee through. When he returns the stitches are removed until the next time.

 

This is a very frightening and painful operation. It is not done in a hospital but in the hut of the medicine woman. The mother takes the girl even if she is screaming and crying. The mother knows what will happen because it was done to her.

 

In most of the countries that FGM is practiced a man will not marry a girl unless she has had this atrocity done. Creating laws and enforcing them is very important to stopping this terrible practice. Education of leaders and parents is also important.

 

Some families have come to America and brought FGM with them and there are some doctors in the U.S. who will perform it. It is illegal here in America and doctors will go to prison.

 

It seems so barbaric and controlling to mutilate a little girl like this. I am glad Egypt is creating laws to forbid it and they are enforcing them.

 

Soon may no little girls have to worry about FGM ever again.

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

BJSquiggel

 

 

 

The horrible practice of genital mutilation

The horrible practice of genital mutilation

 

 

Female genital mutilation: Egypt to toughen penalties

  • 29 August 2016
  •  BBC News
This education video aims to change views of FGM in Egypt, reports Orla Guerin

Egyptian authorities are to increase the penalty for those who force women into genital mutilation (FGM).

The statutory prison term recommended for offenders had ranged from between three months and three years.

The cabinet has approved plans to impose jail terms of between five and seven years, with harsher sentences if the procedure leads to death or deformity.

FGM has been illegal in Egypt since 2008 but it remains widespread.

The procedure involves the partial or full removal of the external sex organs, ostensibly to control women’s sexuality.

It is practiced by both Muslims and Christians in a number of African countries and in parts of the Middle East.

In May, an Egyptian teenager who had undergone FGM died of complications, prompting the UN to call on Egypt for tougher action.

13 women


Here Are 13 of the World’s Most Influential Women You Don’t Know Yet

Namaste,

Barbara

 

bjwordpressdivider

You already know about the Power Women: the celebrities and moguls, the world leaders and dignitaries, the stars who can dominate a news cycle with a single tweet. Lots of these women—like Nicki Minaj, Caitlyn Jenner,Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel—are on this year’s TIME 100. But influence and fame are not the same thing, and this year’s list also includes women whose impact far exceeds their fame. You may not know who they are (yet). Here’s why you should.

  • Jaha Dukureh

    jaha dukureh
    Neilson Barnard—Getty Images
    The Gambian activist is a leader in the fight to end female genital mutilation, a practice that affects more than 200 million girls worldwide. Dukureh herself was cut in Gambia when she was just about a week old. At 15, she was sent to the United States to marry a much older and unknown man. When she got married, she learned that she had been subjected to the most extreme form of genital mutilation: her clitoris and labia had been removed, and her vagina had been stitched shut with only a small hole for urination and menstruation. Now remarried and the mother of three, she’s leading a movement to end female genital mutilation worldwide, and raising awareness about the the practice in the United States: after herChange.org petition got more than 220,000 signers, the Obama administration announced it would commission a report to study the problem.

     

  • Jaha Dukureh

    jaha dukureh
    Neilson Barnard—Getty Images
    The Gambian activist is a leader in the fight to end female genital mutilation, a practice that affects more than 200 million girls worldwide. Dukureh herself was cut in Gambia when she was just about a week old. At 15, she was sent to the United States to marry a much older and unknown man. When she got married, she learned that she had been subjected to the most extreme form of genital mutilation: her clitoris and labia had been removed, and her vagina had been stitched shut with only a small hole for urination and menstruation. Now remarried and the mother of three, she’s leading a movement to end female genital mutilation worldwide, and raising awareness about the the practice in the United States: after herChange.org petition got more than 220,000 signers, the Obama administration announced it would commission a report to study the problem.
  • Dr. Laura Esserman and Dr. Shelley Hwang

    Dr. Shelley Hwang and Dr. Laura Esserman
    Jim Wilson—The New York Times/Redux; Evan Kafka for TIME
    These oncologists are pioneering an approach to breast cancer that is more personalized and far less invasive than the current standard treatment options. They’re on the front lines of a medical movement that now questions whether difficult repeated surgeries and radiation for early-stage breast cancer, known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), should be the standard of care or whether active surveillance and certain drugs may be sufficient to contain these pre-tumors in some women. Since 20-25% of breast cancers diagnosed through screening are DCIS, Dr. Esserman and Dr. Hwang’s research could affect how breast cancer is treated for thousands of women, and could help prevent needless mastectomies.
    • Christiana Figueres

      Christiana Figueres
      Frederic Stucin
      The Costa Rican diplomat was appointed the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010. She’s orchestrated successful international climate conferences, including the landmark Paris meeting in 2015. The Paris Agreement, which requires nearly 200 countriesto commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and invest in addressing climate change, has been widely hailed as the most ambitious climate agreement in history.

      Guo Pei

      guo pei
      Miguel Medina—AFP/Getty Images
      One of China’s most daring and prolific fashion designers is taking the international fashion scene by storm. Known for fantastical designs inspired by the Chinese Imperial Court, Pei designed Rihanna’s famous fur-lined yellow gown with the enormous train from the 2015 Met Gala. Despite her massive following in China, Pei had not shown her work in a major fashion show until January, when she debuted at Paris Fashion Week.

      Mona Hanna-Attisha

      Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
      Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images
      The Flint pediatrician was one of the first to connect the dots between the elevated lead levels in Flint water and health problems in children. As the complaints of Flint parents fell on deaf ears, Dr. Hanna-Attisha was one of the main whistleblowers alerting the public to the Flint water crisis, which is thought to have affected more than 8,000 children under the age of 6. Thanks to her research and activism, officials are now facing criminal charges for allowing Flint children to drink contaminated water.

      Hope Jahren

      hope jahren
      Matt Ching
      The University of Hawaii geochemist and geobiologist is known for her research using stable isotope analysis to analyze fossil forests. She made waves this year with Lab Girl, a bestselling memoir about botany and her life as a scientist, that doubled as a call to action to protect the Earth’s plant life. She’s also beenoutspoken about gender dynamics and sexual harassment in the academic sciences.

      Yayoi Kusama

      Yayoy Kusam
      Alex Majoli—Magnum for TIME
      The 87-year old Japanese artist (who was a contemporary of Andy Warhol’s) is known for her abstract expressionist work that often includes polka dots, patterns, and nets. She works in painting, sculpture, drawing, film and installation, and she’s considered one of Japan’s most prominent contemporary artists. Her installation Infinity Mirrored Room opened the Broad Museum in Los Angeles last fall and drew praise from Adele among many others.

      Sunita Narain

      Sunita Narain
      Courtesy of Centre for Science and Environment
      The director of the Center for Science and Environment has long been one of India’s most prominent environmentalists. She’s led campaigns against Coke and Pepsi for including high levels of pesticides in their sodas (an allegation which both companies vehemently deny). She has campaigned for decades to reduce air pollution in New Delhi. She brings social awareness to her environmentalism, recognizing poor and marginalized populations as crucial for environmental progress.

      Diana Natalicio

      Diana Natalicio
      Joel Salcido
      As President of the University of Texas at El Paso since 1988, Natalicio is thelongest-serving president of a public research University. In the nearly three decades since she took the job, UTEP has transformed from a small commuter school to a major public research university, with a student body that is more than80% Mexican-American (with another 5% who commute directly from Mexico.) She’s a major thought leader in the best ways to help low-income, first-generation students succeed in college.

      General Lori Robinson

      Gen. Lori Robinson
      U.S. Air Force—The New York Times/Redux
      She’s currently the Commander of the Pacific Air Forces, but General Lori Robinson just got a big promotion. In March, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that President Obama will nominate General Robinson to be the next head of the Northern Command, putting her in charge of all military activity in North America. If confirmed by the Senate, she will become the first woman to lead a U.S. combatant command, one of the most senior roles in the U.S. Military.

      Kathy Niakan

      Kathy Niakan
      Courtesy of The Francis Crick Institute

      This developmental biologist is the first ever to receive regulatory approval to use a powerful new gene-editing technology on human embryos. In February, the United Kingdom’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority approved Dr. Niakan’s application to use CRISPR–Cas9 to permanently change the genome of human embryos. Her research will lead to a better understanding of which genes are crucial to embryo development, and could help develop new treatments for infertility. Her study is likely the first in what will be a series of experiments in which we make ever more impactful changes to the genome, not only to improve our understanding of disease, but to cure them as well.

      Ibtihaj Muhammad

      ibtihaj muhammed
      Daniel Shea for TIME
      As the first Muslim woman who observes hijab to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Fencing team, Ibtihaj Muhammad is already a pioneer. But she’s also taking political risks, by speaking out against anti-Muslim rhetoric. Her upcoming appearance at the Olympics, wearing hijab, is being hailed as a moment of pride for American Muslims.
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