Theme: Violence Against Women

Soroptimist Club of Heidelberg (in collaboration with SIE Clubs Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Weinheim / Bergstrasse, Landau, Frankenthal, Mannheim, Speyer, Mosbach, Worms) – Germany


Despite all the awareness-raising efforts since the United Nations adopted 6 February as International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in 2012, girls are still subjected to this brutal practice every year.


The subject is not only about Africa or Asia, but also about Europe and in this case Germany. According to statistics published by UNICEF in September 2016, at least 200 million women and girls in the world today are living with the consequences of female genital mutilation, which include lifelong injuries, obstructions in childbirth and increased risk of infant deaths, as well as grave psychological harm.


Around 65,000 affected women and girls live in Germany, in addition, at least 15,500 girls in Germany are at risk of genital mutilation. Many families continue the tradition on their daughters, mainly during their holidays in their home country.


For all these reasons, Soroptimist members support the target of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to eliminate FGM by 2030. To reach this goal, the Unions and Clubs of Soroptimist International of Europe have been improving the lives of women and girls by implementing practical projects to combat FGM.


As a concrete example, under the leadership of the Soroptimist Club Heidelberg in Germany in joint collaboration with German Clubs if the metropolitan region Rhein-Neckar, have dedicated their annual meeting to the theme “Female genital mutilation – context, help and prevention“.


Aims of the meeting:


  • Highlight the fact that FGM exists and is practiced not only in the countries around the world but also in Germany
  • Provide information and advice on concerns raised by either families or their children through workshops
  • To strengthen the voice of women and communities speaking out against FGM

The target group included: paediatricians and gynaecologists, midwives, educators and teachers, refugee aids, staff of social, psychological and legal institutions, victims and interested and engaged club members.


Greetings from Heidelberg’s commissary for equality (Dörte Domzig), a presentation from the managing director of ‘Stop Mutilation‘ e.V. Düsseldorf (Jawahir Cumar) as well as the medical main presentation of experienced gynaecologist Dr. Christoph Zerm from North Rhine-Westphalia have offered facts and knowledge to the 75 participants.


The meeting has been successful with positive feedback! The members managed to implement the project around three fundamental steps: raising awareness, acknowledging responsibility and ability to help and making a difference through active engagement.