Zonta International is a global organization of individuals dedicated to empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy. The Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center is a tool for our members in the United States and other individuals who share our commitment to gender equality to take action to improve the lives of women and girls. With your help, we can make a difference. In addition to the actions below, click here to support our joint efforts with UNICEF USA to end child marriage in the United States.
FGM has no health benefit for women and girls, the World Health Organization confirms. The procedure can cause physical complications such as difficulty urinating and passing menstrual flow, severe bleeding, scarring, sexual problems, increased risk of childbirth complications, shock, and even death.
The bipartisan Empower Our Girls Act (H.R. 829) would add FGM to seven Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grant programs, allowing the grants to be used to assist survivors of this human rights violation. Such grants already support victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.
The bill also requires the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to classify FGM as a Part II crime in the Uniform Crime Reports. (The FBI compiles and periodically publishes crime statistics through the Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Currently, the FBI does not compile and publish information about FGM.)
The Empower Our Girls Act was reintroduced in 2021. Please urge your representative to co-sponsor and support H.R. 829. If they have already sponsored or co-sponsored the bill, you can send a message of thanks.