Almost 130 million women around the world have had
their genitalia forcibly mutilated
February 6 marked the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation and the UN has launched a multi-million dollar programme to reduce the practice by 40 per cent over the next seven years.

Almost 130 million women around the world have had their genitalia forcibly mutilated.

It is a practice commonly found in African countries, but also in parts of Asia and the Middle East.

Female genital mutilation, or FGM, is a barbaric practice that involves cutting off part or all of the labia and clitoris. And it is usually done without anaesthetic.

The girls are treated with traditional medicine
if there are any complications

Despite laws banning it in more then a dozen countries, young girls are still suffering pain, shock, infection and on occasion death. 

In Guinea 99 per cent of women have been subjected to genital mutilation, and in Egypt, it is 97 per cent.

In Senegal the figure is lower at 28 per cent. But the introduction of laws banning FGM in around 16 countries across Africa seems to have made little difference. 

Film on FGM in Senegal adapted from The Shape of Water. For more details see: 
Additional footage provided by IRIN News: 
Shiulie Ghosh asked Dr Nahid Toubia, the president of Research Action and Information Network for the Bodily Integrity of women, if the practice can really be wiped out altogether.

Caracalla Dance Theatre

The Caracalla Dance theatre was founded in

The Lebanese Civil war, which ended in 1990, was long and brutal. Yet throughout the conflict, the Caracalla Dance Theatre never stopped performing. 

It was founded in 1970 by Abdel-Halim Caracalla and is now the most prominent dance company in the Middle East. Members have also performed throughout Europe, Africa, Canada, Russia and America.

And finally, the stories making headlines around the world.

In India it has been a good week for women. The main opposition party has amended its constitution so that 33 per cent of positions within the party must be occupied by women.

And in Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, otherwise known as the Great Seducer, is promising that if he wins the election, he will give a third of government posts to women. Obviously he is a great lover of the fairer sex. Last year his wife wrote to an Italian newspaper demanding a public apology from him for his flirting with other women

A new report on honour-based violence in the UK says even third or fourth generation immigrants born and bred there still believe that family honour depends on the behaviour of women.

Farhiyo Ibrahim Farah is being ostracised
because of her tireless campaigning

It also found that such attitudes are becoming more entrenched in some communities. Worryingly, it seems teachers, police and local authorities are afraid to take action for fear of being called 'racist' or 'Islamophobic'. 
And finally, a Somali refugee has been honoured with an international award for her courageous battle for women's rights in a Kenyan refugee camp.

Farhiyo Ibrahim Farah is a remarkable young woman who risks being ostracised because of her tireless campaigning for rape victims, unmarried mothers, and girls who have suffered genital mutilation.

Watch part one of this episode of Everywoman on YouTube

Watch part two of this episode of Everywoman on YouTube
This episode of Everywoman aired on Friday, February 8, 2008

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