2 June 2020 – NPWJ News Digest on FGM and Women's Rights


‘Many girls have been cut’: how global school closures left children at risk
The Guardian, 01 Jun 2020

Covid-19 school closures have exposed children around the world to human rights abuses such as forced genital mutilation, early marriage and sexual violence, child protection experts say. Globally, the World Bank estimates that 1.6 billion children were locked out of education by Covid-19. As schools in England and around the world prepare to reopen this week, NGOs warn that millions of the world’s most vulnerable children may never return to the classroom, and say that after decades fighting for girls’ education the pandemic could cause gender equality in education to be set back decades.In Tanzania, girls sent home from boarding schools where they were being protected from FGM have already been cut. In the Sahel region, where early marriage is widespread, Unicef worries that many girls will never return to school. 

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UN Women and Rohingya women at the frontline of COVID-19 response
ReliefWeb, 01 Jun 2020

The world in lockdown has created a ‘profound shock to our societies and economies, and women are at the heart of care and response efforts underway[1]. Primarily as caregivers, women are not just sustaining families, but also serving as front-line responders, mainly in the health and service sector.
In Cox’s Bazar, where the world’s largest refugee camp lies, Rohingya women face further increased gender-based violence due to the heightened tension within households and within the camp. This heightened tension is often caused from restrictions on income generating activities needed to sustain families. Despite these odds, Rohingya women are serving as front-line workers to protect their families and communities. One unique way they are doing this is by producing masks to fill a significant gap of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the market.Over 50,000 masks are being produced and the manufacturing is being managed by partners in UN Women’s five multi-purpose Women’s centers in the camps, engaging 163 Rohingya women and girls with 46 families run as single female headed households. 

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Black female mayors in spotlight amid protests and pandemic
Minneapolis Star Tribune, 01 Jun 2020

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms captured the nation's attention when she addressed the civil unrest occurring in her city after George Floyd's death. "I am a mother to four black children in America, one of whom is 18 years old," Bottoms said Friday in a rousing speech. "When I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother." Bottoms and other black female mayors, including Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, are leading some of the nation's largest cities during an unprecedented moment of challenge as protests against police brutality overlap with the coronavirus pandemic and an economic collapse. They're being praised as thoughtful leaders at a time of political tumult and high-profile examples of black women seeking and winning political office across the country. 

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Italian centres for abused women lose state funding as lockdown fuels demand
Thomson Reuters Foundation, 27 May 2020

When Italy announced its coronavirus lockdown in early March Anna Levrero, who runs a shelter for abused women in the worst-hit region of Lombardy, knew it would bring a spike in calls. But she was already grappling with another challenge.Centres for domestic abuse sufferers in Lombardy in northern Italy have since last year been required to give regional authorities the identities of the women they are helping to qualify for state funds.Many have refused, calling it an invasion of privacy, and as a result they say they are having to cope with a significant reduction in funding, just as their services are most needed. 

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Africa: Menstruation Is Not a Girls' or Women's Issue - It's a Human Rights Issue
AllAfrica, 27 May 2020

Many, if not most, countries have menstruation myths or taboos and a prevailing sense that menstruation is dirty or shameful. Silence plays a major role in perpetuating these beliefs. But things are changing. People are increasingly speaking out about menstruation issues, including period shame and "period poverty" - the financial burden placed on girls and women in managing menstruation. Slowly, policymakers are beginning to pay attention. Facilities and supplies to manage menstruation are increasingly considered necessities in schools and places of work, and even in humanitarian responses. And young people are leading the way. Through the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate an End to Child Marriage, for instance, girls are learning about sexual and reproductive health, including menstruation - and that it does not indicate readiness for marriage or sex. They are empowered to take charge of their bodies and speak out about their health needs, dignity and human rights. 

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