Liberia: Women Leaders Move against FGM

Female Genital Mutilation

The fight against the age-long practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Liberia has received a boost after women traditional leaders in the country’s Bong County willingly surrendered their traditional tools used for the harmful practice.

Development Diaries reports that the traditional leaders publicly committed to the end of the practice by relinquishing traditional properties and the closure of bush schools used for perpetrating the act.

It is understood that in reinforcing their commitment to ending FGM in the county, the traditional leaders, popularly known as Zoes, undertook a symbolic march bearing the tools traditionally used for FGM practice on their heads as they journeyed from the bush.

In Liberia, the FGM prevalence rate among women between the ages of 15 and 49 is 38.2 percent, according to the 2019 Demographic Health Survey in Liberia.

The practice is considerably more prevalent among women who live in rural areas (52.3 percent) than those in urban areas (29.9 percent).

The country also remains one of the few in Africa without legislation criminalising FGM, despite having signed and ratified numerous human rights instruments that denounce the practice as a violation of human rights, including the Maputo Protocol.

The UN Women’s Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey, commended the traditional leaders for their tireless efforts to eradicate FGM in Liberia.

Lamptey highlighted that embracing cultural change is challenging but imperative for a better Liberia, where young girls can achieve their full potential in society.

Liberia’s Ministry of Gender also pledged to continue to support the fight against FGM in the country, emphasising the importance of a collaborative effort.

Photo source: Inter Press Service


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