The Common Good
September-October 1996

Women's Rights are Human Rights

by Julienne Gage, Aaron McCarroll Gallegos | September-October 1996

Female genital mutilation (FGM), which many young women in parts of Africa and the Middle East are forced to undergo
as a coming-of-age rite, is starting to receive attention as a ...

Female genital mutilation (FGM), which many young women in parts of Africa and the Middle East are forced to undergo as a coming-of-age rite, is starting to receive attention as a fundamental abuse of human rights.

In a case that is a turning point for the United States, Fauziya Kasinga, who fled her native country of Togo to avoid FGM and spent nearly two years in jail for illegally entering the United States, was recognized by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals as a legitimate refugee from human rights abuses.

This decision to recognize FGM as grounds for asylum could affect many women fleeing from the painful and dangerous practice, and should also increase recognition worldwide that rights of women are as legitimate as the rights of any other human.

Programs sponsored by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund in many countries where FGM is practiced are now working to encourage alternative initiation rites for young women and help them exercise more control over their lives.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)