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.
The 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.
There 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…..
It’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.
Rashida 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: