Women can not abandon the practice of FGM until they have the information, material conditions and skills to access different options. In countries in which FGM is a pre requisite for marriage, women and girls whose economic security depends upon their ability to be married have little choice. Here is some advice from The Exquisite Lady,
- Governments should reform policies that prevent women from raising their economic, social and political status, including ensuring that both men and women have the right to work and the right to equal pay for equal work.
- Governments also have a responsibility and obligation to support women and encourage their participation in all aspects of community life. In addition women should be allowed to participate in public office and decision making.
- For immigrants from FGM practising communities, social compulsion may be compounded by feelings of alienation, which makes immigrants reliant upon their families or communities. Although not true in all cases, these forces may make immigrants hesitant or unwilling to abandon practices from their home culture that distance them from the host culture. In the example of FGM, women can preserve traditions at the expense of their bodies while other elements of community life change,
- As in their home countries, immigrant women must have equal access to the systems of power so they can exert equal control over community values and cultural changes. Receiving governments should support programmes that offer immigrant women instruction in the language of the majority, job training and information regarding avenues for legal protection.
- Governments should also ensure adequate financial and social support network is available for immigrant women who sometimes must abandon their primary source of economic security – their families or their husbands – to exercise their right to make decisions about their bodies.