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Hilary Burrage

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 now a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

UK Parliament Home Affairs Committee Report On Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

July 3, 2014

1407.03 050aThe House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has today (3 July 2014) published its report on Female Genital Mutilation: the case for a national action plan.  I made a submission to their Inquiry, my views shared largely also by others. The Committee, chaired by Keith Vaz MP, reflects much of what many of us proposed – compulsory PSHE, proper training for concerned practitioners, more support for community activists – but fails to grasp  the nettle convincingly on finance or mandatory reporting, or indeed on the economics behind this grim practice.

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The UK Home Office (Says It) Has No Data On FGM Asylum Claims

May 19, 2014

13.08.09 in flight 013aThere is little for Britain to be proud of about  UK responses to female genital mutilation as grounds for asylum.  The Home Office clearly sees itself as above scrutiny.  In April 2014 I wrote this for the Guardian: How can Britain deport a child at risk of FGM? Theresa May must think again, reporting Afusat Saliu’s terror that her little girls will be mutilated if deported - as they were, callously – to Nigeria .  Subsequent events (including 200+ girls kidnapped by Boko Harem in Nigeria) and UK parliamentary enquiries (as below) give even greater cause for concern…..

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Report: Harmful Traditional Practices In Diaspora Communities

May 16, 2014

13.11.30 Diverse city 10aI was recently invited to submit some thoughts for a paper on Harmful traditional practices in diaspora communities, to be written by Evie Browne of GSDRC for the DfID Aids and Reproductive Health Team.  The paper covers female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage and the ways these harmful traditional practices (HTP) have changed – not always in the same direction, but generally positively – with diaspora movement.

The report, published today (16 May 2014), engages with a useful range of referenced evidence and is nuanced in considering variances over time in behaviour and beliefs in different places.

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Does Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) In Western Societies Create An Underclass?

April 24, 2014

14.07.03 hand pointing down 002aI went to the British Sociological Association Annual Conference in Leeds today (24 April 2014) to present my developing ideas around possible correlations between FGM and social class. I suggested that, in the western world, the very act of committing FGM creates the social exclusion (underclass) from which in traditional communities it is intended to provide protection.

Here is a summary of the presentation I made around this proposition:

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Islam Channel Television Examines FGM in the UK

April 24, 2014

14.03.22 Islam Channel TV Analysis on FGM 12a‎It’s encouraging that the UK campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM) has now become actively embraced by people from many sections of society.  Amongst the media to take up this message is Islam Channel Television, which has twice in early 2014 offered  Analysis programmes on the subject.  With others from varying perspectives I made a contribution to these broadcasts, which are now available to view.  The introductory texts and links to these programmes are given below.

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UN Rapporteur Rashida Manjoo Visits UK – My Briefing Note On Violence Against Women And Girls

April 15, 2014

14.04.16 blue and pink brushes 339aRashida Manjoo, Professor of Public Law of the University of Cape Town, and Special Rapporteur for the UN Human Rights Council on Violence against women, its causes and consequences, was in London today to deliver her initial report on findings about (young) women and violence in the United Kingdom.  I was invited to submit a short summary briefing on female genital mutilation (FGM) and violence against women and girls for Prof Manjoo’s consideration during her visit.  This is what I said:

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The Real Economics Of FGM: It’s (Much) More Than ‘Wages’

April 11, 2014

12.08.28 Data sheet 058aWhat do we know about the economics of FGM, or prospects for girls and young women with FGM in western countries?  Probably not much.  The REPLACE2 conference (London, 11 April ’14) took the theme ‘Prevention or Prosecution? The behaviour change approach to tackling FGM in the EU‘.  I offered a seminar, ‘The Real Economics of FGM’, presentation (and discussion) notes for which are below.  My conclusion? FGM may disenfranchise some girls in western societies differently, and it weakens economies at all levels.  Time to act.

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