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The 2014 Girl Summit: what do you think?

(11 Posts)
SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 21-Jul-14 16:09:18

Afternoon folks,

We wanted to take a moment to let you know about the upcoming Girl Summit, which is being co-hosted by the Department for International Development and UNICEF. It launches on July 22 and is aimed, according to the literature “at mobilising domestic and international efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) within a generation”.

As you may know, we’ve given our support to the campaign to end FGM in the past. We’ve hosted webchats and guest posts on the need to end the practice worldwide - and in the UK, where it’s already illegal, to pursue prosecutions against those who perpetrate or facilitate it.

We haven’t previously done anything on the issue of forced or early marriage as it’s not a subject that has come up very often on the boards, but we’d be really interested to take this opportunity to ask for your thoughts. Between 2011 and 2020, more than 140m girls worldwide will be married before the age of 18, according to the United Nations Population Fund, with the highest rates seen in Niger, Chad and the Central African Republic. Of those 140m, 50m will be under the age of 15. What’s your view on the practice? What were your memories of life at that age - and what are your hopes for your own children and those in developing countries?

We’ll be bringing you more from the Summit when it launches, but meanwhile, if you’re interested, there are various ways in which you can get involved. And if you’d like to register your support right now, you can do so by pledging your backing for the Summit’s aims on social media - more on how to do that here.

flowers MNHQ

GABYZ Mon 21-Jul-14 20:21:35

The Girl Summit is such an important time for everyone to find out exactly what is happing around the world to young girls being forced into under age marriage. My sisters and I were Child brides, taken from the UK and sold to men in Yemen when we were children. I was 13 years old and it took me 17 years to escape. Its horrific the abuse girls go through! Its still happening today in the UK, girls are taken abroad for the "summer holidays" and never return, they are sold and forgotten. We must all work hard to put a stop to this.

pinksquidgy Tue 22-Jul-14 09:55:56

I don't want to sound like a wet blanket but am I the only one a bit dubious about this politics-by-summit approach? We've had the sexual violence in conflict summit and now this one hard on its heels. Seems odd that they're so close together time-wise and basically vying for media attention.

And it sort of smacks of... not tokenism exactly, but something a bit cynical. 'Let's get a few top politicians and some slebs in a room, invite the media and it will look as though we're doing something.'

OF COURSE both things are very, very important issues and I'd much rather the government were doing something than that they were doing nothing. But also both issues are hugely complex, cultural, things that go right to the heart of how women and girls are regarded by societies across the globe (as sexually terrifying possessions, basically) and it seems all too easy for heads of government to turn up, have a nice jolly, sign some papers and go right back home and do bugger all.

These things can only be sorted out by very, very detailed, painstaking, long-term hard work in local communities. Which needs MASSIVE funding and training of hundreds of thousands of individuals. Countries need to be pulled out of poverty and girls and women need to be educated and empowered.

I don't know, it all feels a bit slogany and window-dressingy. I'd like to see the Home Office refusing to deport women and girls to countries where they're at risk of FGM and forced marriage, for a bloody start - which they merrily do all over the shop at the moment. How would that be for a summit commitment, hmmm?

Hakluyt Tue 22-Jul-14 10:03:31

Let's just hope it's not like this.

pinksquidgy Tue 22-Jul-14 10:26:09

grin Apparently though that was actually a panel specifically about men who had good records of employing women at high levels in their organisations, so wasn't as bad as it looked from social media snapshots. But yes I bet their PR officers were slapping their heads about it

GABYZ Tue 22-Jul-14 10:31:47

The Girl Summit is the ONLY way to bring attention to world about the atrocities of what is really happening to young girls around the world today. As for the Media attention, how else are we suppose to highlight these issues? Newspapers, TV news, Social Media, etc. they all play a huge role in getting the word out! If it wasn't for Media attention, you, and others, wouldn't have known about this issue to be discussing it. I really do hope that the Girl Summit opens peoples eyes in our country to what is happening. There are many organisations and Leaders from around the world who will be present at the Summit to highlight their work and bring attention to what is needed from Governments in over 50 countries to end this practice.

pinksquidgy Tue 22-Jul-14 11:46:40

Erm Gabyz, I take your point but I did definitely already know about these issues and have taken part in a few related campaigns. I suspect this is true of lots of people on MN, we're a fairly clued-up bunch on the whole.

I agree that it's great to raise awareness, and if it builds UK public support for UK development money then I'm all for that. Personally I find the messaging a bit off though. FGM and forced marriage won't be stopped by Middle England going 'tut tut' into its cornflakes.

And I still think there's one very obvious thing the Uk Gvt could do which is STOP DEPORTING GIRLS AND WOMEN TO COUNTRIES WHERE THEY MAY BE RAPED AND CUT.

GABYZ Tue 22-Jul-14 12:13:32

Hi pinksquidgy, my names Gaby, and im sorry if I offended you in any way, it wasn't my intention. I thank you for taking part in the campaigns you have done and hope you carry on doing so, we need all the help we can. I am a child bride survivor, so are my sisters, taken from the UK and sold abroad, so im with you all the way when you say we need to start here in stopping young girls from getting taking abroad, deported, sold, cut, raped, tortured and killed. I was trying to say that the Girl Summit is a huge event, one that brings attention to the world stage by the way of Media, one that gets people like you and I, and many, many others debating, taking action and hopefully starting to bring an end to these practices all around the world.

pinksquidgy Tue 22-Jul-14 12:31:40

No problem gaby. And wow, I didn't realise you were a survivor. Are you taking part in the summit? Very best of luck with it. I really hope it's a positive day that leads to real change.

GABYZ Tue 22-Jul-14 12:51:16

Yes im taking part, going up tomorrow for Stephanie Sinclair's Exhibition "Too young to wed" She's an amazing lady who has worked all over the world with Child brides. It truly is a great event! I too hope its the start of some real change.

lowcarbforthewin Tue 22-Jul-14 21:32:40

A part of me is really enthused by how much is going on to raise awareness and change things...the first small steps are important. I just worry it isn't anywhere near enough.

What was I doing at 15? Well I wouldn't have been ready to get married that's for sure. The idea of being raped by a much older husband, it doesn't bear thinking about. There was a very sad article this week about Syrian girls who are being married off to protect them from rape and I just think what future do they have? What hope? It is terrifying.

And FGM, well I can't even imagine how dreadful that is. I hope it is stamped out in my lifetime.

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