The past three years have been very important to scale up the movement to protect the rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls and, particularly, to eliminate female genital mutilation worldwide.
The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF released a report Monday that gives the most complete picture of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) ever published.
Bogaletch Gebre knows exactly what women in her Ethiopian community are going through. Along with her sisters, the women's rights activist was a victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) when she was a child in a part of Ethiopia where the practise was carried out on every girl.
Seven-year-old Istar Mumin lies on a bed, motionless, in one of the rooms of her family home in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne district. She has just gone through the horrifying ritual of “the cut,” which was carried out by a local Somali nurse.
Some girls among the Pokot community in western Kenya are bravely defying what is considered cultural and traditional by refusing to be circumcised. More and more mothers, fathers and the women whose job is to do the cutting are beginning to support these girls’ right to bodily integrity.
When she was nine years old, Jane Meriwas, a Samburu from the Kipsing Plains in Kenya’s Rift Valley region, was considered of no use by her father. After all, nine of his goats had been eaten by hyenas under her watch.
Liberian journalist Mae Azango says she spent a year living “like a bat, going from tree to tree” with her daughter in order to escape religious fanatics who were threatening to kill her for exposing the practice of female genital mutilation in her home country last year.
"In some communities, you can’t talk about violence against women," says Agnes Leina, executive director of Il'laramatak Community Concerns (ICC), a group that promotes the human rights of pastoralist communities in northern and southern Kenya, with a special emphasis on women and girls.
The fight against female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) continues to gain traction around the world.
For the Samburu community in northern Kenya it was bad enough that Julius Lekupe had not sired a son - it was even worse that his eldest daughter refused to be “cut”.
Journalists can play a crucial role in helping to shift traditional attitudes within societies where the cruel practice of female genital mutilation is an everyday reality.
For the estimated 140 million girls and women living with the consequences of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), it is already too late. But since a global ban on FGM was passed at the end of last year, activists hope many more will now escape this brutal practice.
In the southern Senegal village of Kael Bessel, female genital mutilation is no longer a taboo subject. Sexagenarian Fatoumata Sabaly speaks freely about female circumcision and girls' rights with her friends.