We need to wake up to the stark reality: that we are not doing a good enough job to protect women and girls. It may be sad, but it’s true. As a society, we are failing women and girls who are affected by violence, suffering from trauma, and coping with the effects of physical and psychological harm around the world.

Last year, the United Nations called attention to the “shadow pandemic” that has spread alongside COVID-19. Domestic violence against women increased significantly due to the confinement imposed by international lockdowns. Unfortunately, this shadow pandemic does not receive the attention it deserves.

The heightened symptoms of misogyny continue to go under-reported, ignored, unaddressed. We don’t see our leaders applying the same urgent measures to protect women and girls from harm as they do to address the coronavirus pandemic. We don’t see them investing billions in their safety. This begs the questions: why don’t we see violence against women and girls being tackled with the same urgency and determination?

I have been campaigning against female genital mutilation (FGM) for almost two decades. Throughout the trials, tribulations, and small triumphs of my journey, I quickly learned to connect the dots between the cutting of young girls’ genitalia and the misogynistic social system infringing upon every aspect of their day-to-day lives.

A girl undergoing FGM in Somalia; a wife being abused by her husband in England; a woman enduring sexual harassment in Mexico; a female executive not receiving the same pay as her male counterpart in Canada — each of these experiences are tied together through the strings of misogyny, which are rarely discussed and challenged but are right there in plain sight if you are willing to look for them.

Read the full article about the roots of FGM by Leyla Hussein at Global Citizen.