WHAT IS FGM? Female genital mutilation is the alteration or removal of a girl’s external genitalia, meaning the Labia and the clitoris for non-medical reasons.
This extreme form of violence against women can cause infertility, difficulties urinating, menstruating and giving birth. It can also kill.
People think FGM isn’t a British problem but it is. It’s a very British problem.
FGM is often the first time that a girl is told she is not perfect the way she is and that something fundamental about her needs to be changed. If this cycle of abuse is broken at the beginning, her whole future path can be transformed.
Globally FGM has affected at least 200 million women and 68 million girls currently at risk.
In England and Wales alone 137,000 women and girls have been reportedly affected by FGM. We have no research on how many girls are at risk. Despite FGM being illegal in the UK, there have been no successful convictions.
In 2019 The Pink Protest joined forces with anti-FGM activist Nimco Ali to push a bill through parliament to get FGM included in the Children Act.
The Children Act 1989 (amended 2004) provides the legal basis for how social services and other agencies deal with issues relating to children. As of 2019, FGM is not included in this legislation meaning there is no legal protection for a child who is at risk of undergoing this kind of violence.
In 2018, Baron Michael Berkeley introduced a bill into the House of Lords to have FGM included in the Children Act. The Bill completed its House of Lords stages on 19 November 2021 and was presented to the House of Commons on 20 November 2018.
FGM is a feminist issue and we all need to get behind this bill and make sure that the Children’s Act protects ALL children.
SUCCESS: Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the Bill, it received Royal Assent on 15 March. The Bill is now an Act of Parliament (law). Read more here.