Sweden works against female genital mutilation

In December, the Swedish Gender Equality Agency is organizing a week-long gathering to inspire preventive work against genital mutilation of girls and women in Sweden. On December 6, professionals in the field will be invited to an open conference.

About 40 national actors from civil society, public institutions and schools are expected to gather in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city.
The gathering will be led by the youth-led organization, Integrate UK, which has achieved great success in its work on honor-related violence and oppression in the United Kingdom (UK).

Genital mutilation of girls and women has been illegal in Sweden since 1982.

However, the Swedish government sees shortcomings in how the issue is included in other violence prevention work. Affected audiences are rarely involved in the conversation. 
The agency has therefore been commissioned to take an inventory and disseminate work methods to prevent and counteract genital mutilation of girls and women. A special focus should be on young people and how they can be a mobilizing force in preventive work.
Arbresha Rexhepi, an investigator with a special focus on honor-related violence and oppression at the agency throws more light on the conference:
What is the layout of the gathering? 

We want to review what information efforts already exist and what one can do in addition to highlight the issue of the relevant target groups and professional groups that meet these. We have invited the youth-led organization Integrate UK, which has for a long time worked with youth-driven activities for a preventive purpose. They will be holding out in the days and with a start in their experiences lead workshops where invited participants will have the opportunity to talk, create and identify the ongoing and continuing work in Sweden. We hope the days lead us one step closer to a strengthened joint work.

Which actors will participate?

During the first two days of the collection, we invited associations and organizations that are already working in the field today, or who have an activity where the issue could be highlighted. The third day also joins national authorities who have assignments within the government’s national action plan against genital mutilation of girls and women. The meeting concludes with an open conference where Integrate UK will talk about their work and how they have created a change in the view of genital mutilation in the UK.

What does the Equality Authority hope the days will result in?

With a cross-sectoral conversation for several days, we want to visualize how the entire chain can work best. From how we best provide care and support to those who have already been exposed, to how we change attitudes and values ​​that allow genital mutilation to still occur. For effective violence prevention work, we believe that the mobilization of the target groups concerned is a prerequisite for moving forward the positions. The Gender Equality Authority wants to help create platforms where local, regional and national players can meet. We hope that the days will contribute to this. We also plan to release a number of films in the future. Involvement of boys and men, commitment and mobilization as well as challenges in support and protection are themes that will be addressed in these productions.


Source: Swedish Gender Equality Agency