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Sisterhood

Malala Yousafzai is supporting Fahma Mohamed in her campaign to get education about female genital mutilation into all schools in the UK.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Malala praised Fahma’s campaign, and joined her in calling for better education in schools about FGM. “I’ve watched every step of Fahma’s campaign and I think she is on the edge of something huge,” she said. “Over 140 million girls and women are mutilated – but like keeping girls out of school in Pakistan, we can come out together and be strong and change things for the next generation. I am her sister and I am at her side and I want her to be listened to I as I was.”

Fahma is 17, Malala is 16.

Malala, who has recovered well in the UK after receiving specialised treatment at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, compared the work done by Fahma and other members of the anti-FGM charity Integrate Bristol to her own battle for universal education. “I’m also trying to work for women’s rights and girls’ education and I think the campaign that you are doing is a part of my campaign as well,” she said. “[W]hen you talk about education you talk about quality education and it should be [known] all over the world about FGM – what it is and how can it affect the life of a girl. So I think it should be a part of education and we both will struggle for this. Because we can never achieve our goals unless we struggle for it, so I think this is the time to start it.”

Maybe that’s what girls are like. Maybe they actually have ideas in their heads. Maybe the people who carefully design extra-stupid toys and games for girls should pay more attention to girls like Fahma and Malala.

 

Comments

  1. quixote says

    (I know this isn’t about me, but, well, when I think back to what a doofus I was at 16, and then hear about the articulate, poised, courageous, intelligent, and hardworking Malala and others like her…. I’m in awe. Literally.)

  2. Blanche Quizno says

    Well, not to be a big fat fly in the ointment, but female genital mutilation is hardly a problem in the UK! It’s a problem in OTHER countries! That’s like us in the US starting an education program on how wrong it is to stone people to death O_O It doesn’t happen here, and we already have laws against it. So where’s the heroism in it?

  3. Maureen Brian says

    Blanche Quizno @ 2,

    FGM is a problem in the UK. It happens here, cutters are flown in from other countries, girls are sent from here to stay with family abroad in order to have it done.

    FGM has been illegal here for quite some time but neither why it has done nor who is doing it has been adequately addressed until now. As with other “difficult” subjects it may be that medical and child care staff have not felt they would be supported if they tried to address either an individual case or the wider problem. This, for instance, was true of forced marriage until the government set up and widely publicised a unit to deal with it, including boasting of its successes.

    This is the NHS’s summary on the topic, due to be updated by the look of the dates – http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/female-genital-mutilation/Pages/Introduction.aspx – and here’s Dr Comfort Momoh who runs the only nationally visible clinic specialising in the subject and who gets called as far away as Australia to share her knowledge – http://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/nov/09/genderissues

  4. Athywren says

    @ Blanche Quizno, 2
    Arranged marriages are hardly a problem in the UK too – those girls are shipped out to other countries to be forced into marriages they don’t want – but they’re still a problem for women in the UK, even if they happen to be outside the UK at the exact moment of it being a problem. It’s very much worth raising awareness about it.

    Out of curiosity, how widespread is awareness of FGM in the west? It just occurred to me that, despite the insistence of anti-equality types that we constantly hear about it to the point that it drowns out any discussion of MGM, I was unaware of FGM until the last few years, but have known all about MGM since I was about six. I’m wondering whether this is a result of anatomically-based biases, or if awareness of FGM is actually less common in western society as a whole?

  5. Iain Walker says

    Blanche Quizno (#2):

    female genital mutilation is hardly a problem in the UK

    I don’t know what country you’re from, but this statement is 100% wrong. Estimates vary, but the 24,000 at risk and the 66,000 already affected as quoted during The Guardian’s campaign are not at all implausible.

    And frankly, if just one young woman in the UK is subjected to FGM, then it’s a problem here.

  6. opposablethumbs says

    Blanche Quizno, an estimated 60,000 women and girls in the UK have already been mutilated and some 24,000 more are thought to be at risk. I wouldn’t call that “hardly a problem in the UK”.

  7. opposablethumbs says

    … and I should have refreshed before posting! Iain Walker said it first – and better:

    frankly, if just one young woman in the UK is subjected to FGM, then it’s a problem here.

    QFT

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