To honour International Women’s Day on 8 March, Minister of State Cornelia Pieper issued the following statement in Berlin today (8 March):
“Germany will step up its commitment to fight violence against women and female genital mutilation. Women’s rights are a focus of German foreign policy.
Even in the 21st century, women’s rights are being systematically violated throughout the world. I am particularly concerned at the high number of women and girls affected by female genital mutilation: 140 million women have to cope with lasting mutilation, with another three million girls at risk every year. Not only does this tradition violate women’s human rights and dignity, it is also a real threat to their lives.
This dangerous tradition must be brought to an end. Through negotiations at international level, by way of local projects for the treatment of the women affected and with public awareness campaigns, German foreign policy is working towards this goal. Women and girls must be able to assert control over their own bodies rather than being forced by traditional values to lead a life of pain and, as is often the case, barrenness. Today this is more relevant than ever.”
International Women’s Day has been celebrated on 8 March since 1911. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the numerous human rights violations and discrimination women suffer. Female genital mutilation is just one of the many ways in which women’s rights are abused. Domestic and sexual violence, trafficking in women, forced marriages, poverty and oppression are among the day-to-day threats to women and their rights worldwide.