There is a famous African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a whole lot of amazing women and girls to make progress in ending violence against women and girls. This International Women’s Day I want to pay tribute to the women working quietly in the background who are making a huge difference to the campaign to end female genital mutilation (FGM).
I urge you all to look behind the headlines and the high-profile awareness raising campaigns this year. Behind each famous face you see and each name you recognise there is an army of women who are taking action and making changes, sometimes putting themselves at risk to help others.
In my work with survivors of FGM I hear so many stories of mothers, grandmothers and aunts who are ending FGM in their families to protect the next generation of girls from harm. I meet health professionals, social workers and teachers who are leading safeguarding work and improving protection measures. There are also many wonderful charities and volunteer groups who are educating and helping to break the harmful cycle of FGM.
So today I salute all the women who are quietly getting on with the hard work of protecting girls, supporting survivors and leading community work to end FGM. You are my inspiration