Four ways to help end female genital mutilation

Ifrah Ahmed’s personal journey calls on each of us to end female genital mutilation

Ifrah Ahmed’s childhood was fraught with violence. There were no educational opportunities for young girls, no chance of a better future. There was only survival. Against this backdrop of instability, Ifrah was one of hundreds of millions of girls worldwide who endured female genital mutilation (FGM). She was a teen when she fled the country alone and resettled as a refugee in Ireland. She joined us on Breaking Glass to share her story connecting with medical professionals, distancing herself from cultural expectations, and becoming a public face of the global campaign to end female genital mutilation. 

  1. Educate yourself on the issue – Female genital mutilation is a human rights abuse with complex cultural origins. There are four different categories of cutting, 200 million women or girls have been affected, and 4 million more will endure the procedure this year alone. (UNFPA and Plan International
  2. Support education for girls – Access to education is arguably the most effective way to create behavior change, to slowly shape culture. When girls have access to education they learn their rights and develop their voice to make decisions about their bodies (Malala Foundation and UNGEI).
  3. Engage in the conversation – Social media gives us a way to engage with those individuals and organizations doing the hard work of ending female genital mutilation. Follow the UNFPA and the Ifrah Foundation. Share their content and join the conversation.
  4. Invest in changemakers – Ending this practice is something being tackled by a network of organizations around the world working toward the United Nations goal to end female genital mutilation by 2030. These organizations are navigating the complex and often dangerous work of protecting girls and women around the world. (Ifrah Foundation)

Ifrah remembers the sound of the scissors. She shudders at the thought of any girl enduring that and is risking her life straddling two cultures as she works to end female genital mutilation. Her story, her strength, her bravery is inspiration for all of us to find ways to support her life’s work. No matter how far removed we may feel from this practice, this is a human right’s abuse and we each have an obligation to make sure that no girl or woman is cut against her will.

Listen to Ifrah on Breaking Glass