Efua Dorkenoo is the Advocacy Director, FGM programme in Equality Now’s London office. She is also a trained bio-social scientist in public health and an honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School of Health Sciences at City University, London. Starting in the early 1980s, her pioneering work on FGM has contributed to the international recognition of FGM as a public health and a human rights issue. From 1995-2001, she worked as the WHO’s first technical expert at their Geneva headquarters and assisted the organization in introducing FGM onto the agendas of the Ministries of Health of WHO Member States. Ms. Dorkenoo was awarded the British State Honours – OBE (Order of the British Empire) by the British Queen in recognition of her work as the founder of the UK NGO FORWARD in 1983 and for her campaigning work against FGM. In 2000, along with Gloria Steinem, she received Equality Now’s international human rights award for her lifelong activism on the issue of women’s rights. Ms. Dorkenoo’s book,Cutting the Rose: Female Genital Mutilation, The Practice and its Prevention(Minority Rights Publications 1994), was considered a first on FGM and was selected by an international jury for inclusion on the 2002 prestigious book list, “Africa 100 Best Books for the 20th Century.”
For 30 years Efua Dorkenoo has been crusading against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and by all accounts she’s winning. Her efforts to prevent FGM are being recognized by Cosmopolitan Magazine as she’s been nominated to receive the Ultimate Woman of the Year Award trophy at an event this December.
Mrs Dorkenoo who is a mid wife from Ghana has spent her entire career campaigning against FGM in Britain and pushing for a worldwide ban. A women’s rights organisation she founded in 1983 was crucial in getting the UK to pass the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act in 1985. From 1995-2001 she campaigned to get the World Health Organization to frame FGM as a human rights violation and not a cultural issue, and she won. Once FGM could get a legal standing, it would take the UN a whole decade but member countries voted to ban FGM completely in 2012.
FGM still affects some 3 million girls every year, so we know the war is far from over, but GoWoman salutes Mrs Efua Dorkenoo for her bravery, tenacity, and for changing the world view on FGM.
There are women, and then there are Super GoWomen!