Perhaps a turning point?
For the first time, a father and doctor stood trial and were sentenced for the practice of FGM (female genital mutilation). A young teenage girl died following such an operation. Although banned in 2008, FGM is still widely accepted and performed by many doctors in private.
The case was dropped until a campaign by local rights groups and the international organization Equality Now and an investigation by Egypt’s state run National Population Council (NPC) made the chief prosecutor agree to reopen the case which led to this week’s prosecution. The head of the NPC sees the prosecution as a “lesson for every clinician. The law is there and it will be implemented.”
Supporters of FGM claim it makes women less likely to commit adultery. An official from NPC stated the problem is rooted in culture not religion. It is hoped Egypt’s interim government will be more proactive about FGM than the administration is replaced and more progressive although it has been criticized internationally for other human rights abuses. An atmosphere needs to be created through media and education – not only for FGM but all women’s issues. Now the government is responding positively as is the media but there is much work to be done for an anti-FGM campaign to reach the poorest districts and rural areas where the practice is very widespread.