Province fights back against female genital mutilation

Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women held a free public screening of In the Name of Your Daughter.

Minister Leela Sharon Aheer arranged a Nov. 27 screening as part of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

The award-winning documentary looks into the complex issue of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), a practice that is considered a human rights violation by the United Nations.

I am passionate about ending female genital mutilation and cutting, or FGM/C.”

– Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women.
Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women.

“I am passionate about ending female genital mutilation and cutting, or FGM/C,” said Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women.

“This screening is just a small look at one community’s approach to addressing FGM/C, and can’t fully capture how complex this global issue is.

“But my hope is that the film will raise more awareness, encourage people to seek out more information, and help us find out what we can do in Alberta to prevent all forms of violence against women and girls in our province.”

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Shot in northern Tanzania, In The Name Of Your Daughter follows a courageous group of girls who have to make a difficult choice: submit to FGM/C and the child marriages their parents have arranged, or risk their lives by running away, not knowing if they’ll ever see their families again.

Following the screening at the Royal Alberta Museum, Michaela Glasgo, MLA, Brooks-Medicine Hat moderated a panel discussion with the film’s director, Giselle Portenier, and experts in women and gender studies:

  • Philomena Okeke-Ihejirika, professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Alberta
  • Onyinye Chukwunyerenwa, advocate for prevention of child sexual abuse

According to the World Health Organization, more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut. FGM/C is practised in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Each year, more than three million girls are considered at risk globally.

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In May 1997, the federal government amended the Criminal Code to make FGM/C an indictable offence.

However, due to the nature and secrecy of the practice, the prevalence of FGM/C in Canada and Alberta is unknown.

Due to the nature and secrecy of the practice, the prevalence of FGM/C in Canada and Alberta is unknown. Click To Tweet

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