Indeed, every reasonable man born of a woman ought to raise up to the challenges to what is now the woman situation. Women are victims of many ignoble ills such as maternal mortality, victims of war and conflicts, poverty, illiteracy, human trafficking, slavery, child molestation, political exclusion through disenfranchisement, rape, underage marriage among others, especially in developing countries.
In Nigeria, for instance, UNICEF had released the heart-breaking news that 10million under-age girls face the perils of early marriage. Of course, the authorities did not shake, simply because the dominant force in the polity comes from the region where cultural and religious tenets encourage this obnoxious and harmful practice. Surely, our women deserve better appreciation than this. Then there are the disconcerting reports about the prevalence of girls and women genital mutilation globally.
According to the United Nations, a total of 200million girls and women are victims of this health hazardous, culturally outmoded, and socially traumatizing practice. Out of this number – which is still swelling – 44 million are girls of age 14 and younger. Out of the 30 countries where FMG is most widespread, the majority of girls have undergone circumcision before their fifth birthday. Africa has 27 countries on the ignoble list. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Indonesia top the list of countries where female genital mutilation is practiced.
Unfortunately, in Nigeria, this dangerous practice is on the increase. Female genital mutilation (FGM) or circumcision is the practice of cutting or removing some or all the external female genitalia. In most instances, it is performed crudely using local methods by traditionalists. Culturally, it is believed that it prevents or reduces immoral or prostitution tendencies among women as FGM is said to reduce sexual urges among women. Hence, baby girls and teenagers go through the painful experience of circumcision. Findings reveal that this practice has destroyed many marriages.
Often, wives are sexually unresponsive or insensitive to their spouses and so are unable to satisfy the sexual urges of their husbands. Several divorce cases are traceable to this sad development, which is also linked to the cultural patriarchy issue in Africa and other parts of the world. Stakeholders are really worried: Why should such an obnoxious practice and belief still flourish in a digital age? Why are female folks always at the receiving end of our inhuman culture?
In Yemen, Somalia, Guinea, and Djibouti, the practice is extremely high. “Being born in those countries means you have a nine out of 10 under the practice”, says a UN report adding that 85 percent of girls population in Yemen experience this practice within their first week of life. Somalia is 98 percent, while Guinea and Djibouti are 93 percent each.
The report includes India, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, as well as pockets of such practice in Australia, North America, and Europe. In Nigeria, experts are expressing concerns that “13 percent of women – about one out of every ten – who have been genitally mutilated were cut by medical professionals”, said Eugene Kongnyuy, Acting Country Representative, UN Population Fund (UNFPA). It is called ‘medicalization of FGM’. You wonder why professionals are involved in this practice. The UN has set a 2030 target to end this ugly practice of FGM. It is a target that should be supported by all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure that this barbaric practice is brought to an end.
We congratulate women in Nigeria and around the world and challenge authorities to do more to protect women from harmful practices, improve their wellbeing, and accord women and all our girl children deserving honor
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