[p821] D. Lack of Education Contributes to FGM in the West
One of the factors listed as a reason why Ethiopian women continue to support FGM is lack of exposure to mass media or, in other words, lack of education. That is, they lack both the education to understand that they do not have to be subjected to FGM, and they lack the credentials which education bestows upon one which would allow them to transcend the circumstances that dictate the necessity for FGM.
According to Nicholas D. Kristof, “[t]here's a growing recognition among everyone from the World Bank to the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism.”
The World Education Organization wrote in an article entitled Girls' and Women's Education Initiative: “For girls and women living in poverty, education is not only the key to a brighter future it is also a key to survival.” The article lists a number of key facts about education, such as, “[m]illions of women in America have difficulty understanding practical health information,” and “[m]ore than 60% of the 110 million children out of school are girls.”
The article stated that helping girls stay in school would improve the economic opportunity for all citizens, as well as lead to “reduced child mortality, improved family nutrition and health, and increased prevention of HIV and AIDS.” The article also proposed that integrating literacy with health education would teach girls and women about “the dangers of early marriage, and how to protect themselves from exploitation.”
It is no mystery why many African nations have undertaken grassroots education policies to eradicate FGM. Knowledge is power. In Kenya, under the leadership of the Women's Global Education Project and partner-organization the Tharaka Women's Welfare Program, 260 girls have said “no” to female genital mutilation since 2007.
[p822] If women are immigrating to the West from countries which are experiencing dire statistics on education for girls and women, without some sort of intervention, then these girls and women will bring their ignorance with them and will thus be more susceptible to the continuation of FGM.