is a consultant sociologist. She is currently writing a book, Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective. This is her professional website and blog, to share thoughts on social analysis and professional practice. Previously a college Senior Lecturer, Hilary now owns a business as a consultant, researcher, writer and speaker. Community engaged, and with grounded board-level and national experience of regeneration, science, health, environmental issues, politics and culture, Hilary has worked in many contexts, from Liverpool via London to Prague. A former AFS (American Field Service) Scholar, Hilary is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Friday 5 December ’14 was my day to join the Rutgers University ‘s #16Days of Advocacy Against Gender-Based Violence, with special reference in my case to female genital mutilation (FGM) in the diaspora, in Europe , North America and Australia. I’ve posted below all my Tweets as @NoFGM_UK, more or less in the order I wrote them. It’s quite a challenge to say things in 140 characters each time, but I hope I’ve captured the essence of some of the facts and views most relevant to my subject.
Curious about the intersectional nature of gender-based violence, about how all these aspects interact and interconnect? Throughout the 16 Days of Activism, activists will be convening a #16Days Twitter based #GBVTeachin on various topics.
My own contribution will be on Friday 5 December, via Tweets from my @NoFGM_UK account.
Do please follow me and all my fellow contributors, and join our debates whenever you can. (The whole programme is published below; to read it in larger print simply click on the items you want to look at.)
Share the line up with those in your network, and remember to use the hashtags #16Days and #GBVTeachin so we know you’re out there!
Sing And Shout Against FGM: Where The Arts, Human Rights, The ‘Old Days’ And A Big UN Announcement All Came Together
On 29 October 2014 Garden Court Chambers in London hosted an evening organised by Dexter Dias QC in support of FGM survivors. The sold-out event comprised drama, music and talks. I was delighted to be asked to speak – and even more so to relay the news that the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, was in Kenya to announce a global initiative with the Guardian to stop FGM. Using the arts to focus on FGM is very important too, so listed here are the performers at our event, as well as my thoughts on the ‘old days’ of FGM campaigning.
The death of Efua Dorkenoo at the age of only 65 is a massive loss to the global community of those striving to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). There have been many appreciations of her written already, but here is mine, composed at their request for the Morning Star. Above my small piece I have posted links to some larger tributes, and below it a photograph taken in 2013 with a note which Efua herself wrote on that occasion, encapsulating in just a few words her massive grasp of the issues and how to approach them. Thank you, Efua, for everything.
The Make FGM History Fringe meeting (22 September) at the 2014 Labour Party Conference in Manchester brought together activists, survivors, politicians, public service professionals and others. Critical issues were examined – funding, mandatory reporting, the role of LSCBs and schools, and community cohesions amongst them – and differences in emphasis identified; but most importantly, a massive will to make progress became evident. Awareness of the horror of FGM is increasing rapidly…
The event (see here) alongside the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, on Monday 22 September 2014 (9.15-11.30am), aims to bring together policy developers, professionals and, most importantly, those with direct experience of FGM. Discussions will focus on the big questions as yet not fully resolved, hopefully exploring the differences in perspective between the different parties involved in Making FGM History in the UK. What follows is an article I wrote for the Morning Star about these issues and the people who will be discussing them.
The Girl Summit in London on 22 July ’14 was an extraordinary event, bringing together various EndFGM and CEFM (child/early/forced marriage) campaigners and top influencers from around the world. The evident positives have however been balanced by caveats from, e.g., Naana Otoo-Oyortey * of FORWARDUK and the participatory development expert Clementine Burnley **. For me too there are issues, not least around where this leaves the stop FGM campaign in the UK.