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UNFPA Ambassador Urges Increased Advocacy Against FGM

Ms Isha Sesay, a UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Goodwill Ambassador, has called for increased and concerted efforts to curb the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Harmful Traditional Practices around the globe, especially in Africa.

She made the call in a virtual interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.

The interview was part of activities by the West and Central Africa Regional Office of the UNFPA to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD), celebrated every year on March 8 around the world to bring issues that affect women to the front burner.

The international day has “CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE” as its theme for 2021.

The UNFPA ambassador, therefore, described FGM as “an unacceptable practice that debases women and girls.

“If the reason for FGM is to protect a girl’s chastity, why does the chastity of women have to be regulated.? I think it is foolishness to go down that road. It is a cultural belief, but it has stopped; culture changes.

“According to statistics, about 200 million women and girls have already been cut, I want women to lend their voices against this practice.”

Sasay, a journalist, expressed optimism for an FGM-free future, adding that it was time for action to change some bad norms.

She anticipated a future where people globally would accept the fact that FGM was an unacceptable practice.

She urged women to choose to challenge obnoxious practices such as FGM, early and forced marriage and all forms of Gender Based Violence, noting that the issue of harmful beliefs and gender norms was global.

She, however, expressed determination to amplify the dangers of female genital mutilation aimed at stopping it.

She said the political will of governments to implement laws that prohibit violence against women was key to eradicating the menace.

Sesay is a British journalist of Sierra Leonean descent. She worked as an anchor and correspondent for CNN International, but left in 2018.

With interest in women and girls’ issues and an advocate for an equal world, she shared her personal life experiences and her journey as a journalist at the virtual NAN engagement.

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