Combating Female Genital Mutilation

Hannah Wettig photo

Hannah Wettig

More than 140 million girls and women in the world are victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) or what is often referred to as female circumcision. At a very young age a girls genitals are cut, reasons are to remain a woman’s chastity, in some cultures it is considered a beautification, in others there are religious reasons. However, the practice often has severe consequences from immediate infections to life long health problems such as recurring cysts, risks giving birth and sexual dysfunction. The practice is mostly considered an African ritual. Yet, it is also found in many parts of the Middle East and Asia: in Oman, the U.A.E., Iraq, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Maledives. In this lecture, Hannah Wettig will talk about why people stick to this ancient practice in Middle Eastern countries, differences to African cultures and ways to campaign against it.

Hannah Wettig is the project coordinator of Stop FGM Middle East, a campaign by the Iraqi-German non-governmental organization Wadi and the Dutch Hivos. The campaign seeks to bring Anti-FGM activists from the region together and support them in their struggle. Hannah has a background of 20 years in journalism with a focus on the Arab world living several years in Cairo and Beirut. She has also worked in different jobs in development cooperation such as the “Division for Conception and Political Planning of Development Policy” at the German Ministry for Development Cooperation and as a campaigner of Adopt a Revolution – a German support group for the peaceful activists of the Syrian Revolution.