Nigeria made history by banning female genital mutilation, but there's still one thing in the way.
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Gates Foundation

It's huge news! Female genital mutilation has been banned in Nigeria.

The horrific practice of FGM is now officially forbidden in Africa's most populous country, thanks to outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan.

President Jonathan went out on a high note when he signed the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) act into law on May 25, 2015, which bans female genital mutilation in Nigeria and forbids men from leaving their families without providing financial support.


Yes and yes. Double victory.

Thank you for standing up for women and girls, Goodluck Jonathan! Photo by Remy Steinegger.

Nigeria is setting a precedent for other African countries — and the world — that FGM needs to stop.

More than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 African and Middle Eastern countries where FGM takes place.

125 MILLION! GIF via Sesame Street.

But if the most populous country in Africa is saying "no more," that's a clear sign to other countries to stop this violence against women and girls.

Will the law be enough to stop the practice?

The answer is essentially: no.

Outlawing a practice is often the first step toward making it culturally unacceptable (or acceptable, depending on what it is). Laws are super important, but the practice of FGM is so ingrained within many cultures that the attitudes around it need to change first.

It may be difficult for families to abandon the practice without support from the wider community. In fact, it is often practiced even when it is known to inflict harm upon girls because the perceived social benefits of the practice are deemed higher than its disadvantages (World Health Organization, 2008).

It'll be hard work, but community organizations and activists on the ground in Nigeria are ready to get started.




As people immigrate to the U.S. and U.K., FGM has become a problem in places you wouldn't necessarily expect.
Photo by Amnon Shavit.

One way to keep the momentum going and get FGM outlawed everywhere? Talk about it.

If just hearing about female genital mutilation makes you uncomfortable, that's exactly why it needs to be talked about. Imagine what the women and girls who have experienced it have gone through!

Consider educating yourself with this handy FAQ from the United Nations Population Fund and this amazing media campaign from The Guardian, or show your support to organizations that are actively working to end FGM around the world. There's also this video of two women with cupcakes that's extremely creative (and disturbing). Just trust me on that one.

This is a situation where changing attitudes can change the world. Be a part of it (if you want!).

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Nicole Abate, a Registered Medical-Surgical Nurse living in New Mexico, starts her workday around 5:00 a.m. During her 20-minute drive to work, she gets to watch the sun rise over the Sandia Mountains as she sips her coffee.

"It's one of my favorite things to do," said Nurse Abate. "A lot of us need a little calm before the storm."

Nicole | Heroes Behind the Masks Presented by CeraVe youtu.be

In March 2020, after a fairly quiet start to the year, Nurse Abate's unit became the official COVID unit for her hospital. "It went full force after that," she says. Abate was afraid, overwhelmed with uncertainty, never knowing what was next on the wild roller coaster in this new territory, "just when you think ...we know exactly what we're doing, boom, something else hits so you adapt… that's part of nursing too." Abate faced her responsibilities courageously and with grace, as she always does, making life a little better for patients and their families "Thank you for taking care of my father," reads one recent letter from a patient's family. "You were kind, attentive and strong and we are truly grateful."

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As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Nicole Abate, a Registered Medical-Surgical Nurse living in New Mexico, starts her workday around 5:00 a.m. During her 20-minute drive to work, she gets to watch the sun rise over the Sandia Mountains as she sips her coffee.

"It's one of my favorite things to do," said Nurse Abate. "A lot of us need a little calm before the storm."

Nicole | Heroes Behind the Masks Presented by CeraVe youtu.be

In March 2020, after a fairly quiet start to the year, Nurse Abate's unit became the official COVID unit for her hospital. "It went full force after that," she says. Abate was afraid, overwhelmed with uncertainty, never knowing what was next on the wild roller coaster in this new territory, "just when you think ...we know exactly what we're doing, boom, something else hits so you adapt… that's part of nursing too." Abate faced her responsibilities courageously and with grace, as she always does, making life a little better for patients and their families "Thank you for taking care of my father," reads one recent letter from a patient's family. "You were kind, attentive and strong and we are truly grateful."

Keep Reading Show less