UN tackling FGM in Egypt–look at the shocking statistic

The UN is taking on female genital mutilation in Egypt, according to this article in the Egypt Independent newspaper, but you have to read down a bit before you come to this:

“Circumcision rate among women between 15 and 49 years old amounted to 91 percent, according to the Demographic and Health Surveys Program data in 2008.”

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I quoted a rate much lower than that when I wrote my book. Clearly it’s impossible to get an accurate number, but let’s agree that 0.001 percent is also too high. I’m not an advocate of Western powers interceding in Mideastern politics, culture or armed struggles. That said, African societies need to persuade themselves that oppression of women — FGM is part of the bigger picture — harms them immeasurably. The world’s leading societies empower women. The world’s most backward nations oppress them. It’s not a coincidence.

To make it clear — FGM is not an Islamic practice. It’s largely an African custom that harms women of different religions. Alongside all the crises that Africa faces, from AIDS to Ebola, oppression of women is the most widespread, and as in the case of many of the other crises, it can be eradicated through education. Groups are hard at work in Africa to try to make a difference. For once, the West doesn’t feel the need to send in troops. But it needs to give its support to this effort.

Five minutes from now is too long to wait.

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