Women from countries where female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is practiced are the best agents to put an end to the harmful practice. This is the message at the core of the ‘Voices of Change’ event being held today to mark International Zero Tolerance Day to Female Genital Mutilation.
Women’s Health in the North, Mercy Health, Monash Health, North Yarra Community Health, Doutta Galla Community Health and Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) have worked together to stage the ‘Voices of Change’ event.
Executive Director of MCWH, Dr Adele Murdolo said that it is important to recognise the pivotal role women from affected communities play in preventing and eliminating FGM/C.
‘The global evidence is quite clear that community-based approaches are the most effective. Our event is a rare opportunity to listen to and learn from women who have been working very hard with their communities to stop the practice.’
Dr Murdolo said that women affected by FGM/C, as the group most directly impacted by the practice, are at the core of successful programs.
‘We rarely hear about the good news stories and successes of the work being done in relation to FGM/C and it’s our intention to celebrate and recognise the tireless activism and engagement of women from the community, who are leading the way for the rest of us.’
Juliana Nkrumah AM, one of the guest speakers at the event, said that any effort to put an end to FGM/C should be motivated by the need to help women in affected communities speak for themselves.
‘It’s essential that we support women and girls by investing in awareness-raising as a way of increasing their decision-making power. It’s the only way cultural change will come about.’