Monday, April 1, 2013

FGM is a development issue that transcend the African continent

Graphic: African continent
Graphic: African continent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In her paper titled “The Politics of FGM: The Influence of External and Locally-Led Initiatives in the Gambia” Dr. Isatou Touray contextualizes Female Genital Mutilation as part of the development agenda throughout the world.  

A development issue that transcends the African continent, and as inter and intra-racial marriages are taking place so also is FGM an issue for immigrants in the Diaspora.

Dr. Isatou Touray, the Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP, an anti-FGM Gambian agency, was guest speaker at the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics on March 18, 2013. 


The public event attended by 240 people was meant to explore the Politics of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).  

Renowned for her expertise in Gender and for her work as a leading anti-FGM campaigner beyond the boundaries of the tiny West African country, The Gambia, Touray discussed the efforts being made to overcome the challenges to the abandonment of FGM.  

Touray refers to a study that shows “66,000 women residing in England and Wales had undergone FGM, while 24,000 girls under 25 are at high risk or may have undergone FGM”, thus justifying her argument that immigrants from practicing ethnic groups should be engaged in eliminating FGM in the Diaspora. 

Elaborating on the justification put forward for the continuation of the practice, Dr. Touray underscores how male fear of female sexuality is juxtaposed with patriarchal control of feminine pleasure in her assertion that “FGM is one of such and it has to do with preventing pleasure of women during sex. 

It is also about male sexual inadequacy of fulfilling their sexual duties to women, thus defining a way of curbing the power of the clitoris and the feminine pleasure.”

Touray looks at the multi-faceted arguments in the FGM debate such as religion, the discriminatory practices involved as well as from the Rights-based approach and the  from the reproductive health perspective.

Emphasizing the need for a protective environment, Dr. Touray noted that 20 African States where female genital mutilation is prevalent and a number of States in other parts of the world have enacted laws criminalizing the practice.   

“Looking closer to home, she said The Gambia government has also done a lot in its efforts to eradicate FGM, but needs to further ensure a protective environment for the health and wellbeing of women and children,” a GAMCOTRAP statement said on March 27.  “Dr. Touray notes with optimism that The Gambia will legislate against FGM by the end of 2013.”  

The agency said Dr. Touray’s trip to England also availed her opportunity to promote the work of GAMCOTRAP.
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