Why We Should Give Thanks More Than One Day in November

According to Wikipedia thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations, such as Liberia that, Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in Canada and the United States as a day of giving observes thanks on the first Tuesday of November. Thanksgiving has its historical roots in religious and cultural traditions and has long been celebrated in a secular manner as well.

American history shows that the 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest that year. Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to what is now known as New England. Several days of Thanksgiving were held in early New England history that has been identified as the “First Thanksgiving”.

First American Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in the U.S. is the one holiday that is celebrated by every family in the U.S., regardless of race, religion and nationality.  It is also the biggest traveled holiday in the country.  The day is usually referred to as ‘Turkey Day’, but it extends far beyond the consumption of baked or roasted turkey and pumpkin pie.  It is traditional for some families to have everyone around the table take turns in stating why he or she is thankful.  The reasons for being thankful vary from each member of the family.  With that in mind, Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation wants to share with you why we at the organization are thankful this Thanksgiving.  We are thankful for all of the survivors of FGM who are willing to stand with us in our campaign to end the practice.  We are thankful for our many supporters, partners and sponsors; we are also thankful for each person who stops and takes the time to listen to us as we explain what FGM is.  We are thankful for you.  We wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation Attends Film Festival in Washington

The Global Women’s Institute of the George Washington University last Friday held their 2015 Women’s Film Festival called Censored.  Focusing on Research, Education and Civic Engagement, in just short a time, the Global Women’s Institute has become known as a premier institute for advancing gender equality.

The films screened at the festival were The Price of Honor with Director, Neena Nejad; Honor Diaries with Writer/Producer, Paula Kweskin; India’s Daughter with Associate Producer Riddhi Jha and The Cruel Cut with Star-Activist, Leyla Hussein.

The Price of Honor - Director Neena Nejad

The Price of Honor – Director Neena Nejad

The Price of Honor (2013) is an award winning documentary about the true story of the honor killings of Sarah and Amina Said.  The two teenage sisters were murdered on New Year’s Day in 2008 in Texas.  According to the film, the girls’ father, Yaser Said carried out a premeditated honor killing that was planned and executed by him.  This film demonstrates that honor killings extend far beyond domestic violence.

Honor Diaries - Producer Paula Kwesin

Honor Diaries – Producer Paula Kwesin

Honor Diaries (2014) is more than a film; it is a movement to inspire viewers to learn more about issues facing women in Muslim-majority societies and to act for change.  In male-dominated cultures, women and girls are treated like property, forced into marriage and suffer female genital mutilation.  Honor Diaries is the first film to break the silence on ‘honor violence’ against women and girls.

India's Daughter - Producer Riddhi Jha

India’s Daughter – Producer Riddhi Jha

India’s Daughter (2015) is an infuriating documentary about twenty-three year old medical student, Jyoti Singh, who was brutally gang raped and murdered while riding a bus in India on December 16, 2012.  This film is a tear jerker, especially in the scenes where the parents appear as they speak amicably about their murdered daughter.

Cruel Cut - Star Leyla Hussein

Cruel Cut – Star Leyla Hussein

The Cruel Cut (2013) is about a topic that until in recent years was forbidden to discuss, and it is female genital mutilation (FGM).  A brave woman, Leyla Hussein took her crusade to the British government, citizens of the U.K. and just about anyone who would stop and listen to her.  Leyla, a survivor of the practice of FGM is originally from Somalia but spent her formative years in several countries around the world.  This film is highly recommended if you are doubtful about supporting the campaign against FGM.

Did You Know…?  Burkina Faso 

Slightly larger than the U.S. state of Colorado, Burkina Faso, formerly known as Upper Volta, is a bordered by Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, and Ghana. The country consists of extensive plains, low hills, high savannas, and a desert area in the north.  This country gained its independence from France in 1960, and changed its colonial name from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso.  The capital city is Ouagadougou.

According to a report from the UNCHR, the type of female genital mutilation (FGM) practiced in Burkina Faso is Type II, which is more commonly known as the excision. The excision is deeply rooted in the culture and cuts across class, religion and ethnic groups in this country. It is performed throughout the country, in all, with a few exceptions of the provinces of Burkina Faso.

Type II is the excision (removal) of the clitoris together with part or all of the labia minora (the inner vaginal lips). The age at which a person undergoes this practice depends on a woman’s region and ethnic group in Burkina Faso.

Members of the ethnic group, the Mossi excise their daughters at around age seven. Other ethnic groups usually wait until a woman is ready for marriage, or about to have her first child before she is excised. Others have their baby girls excised at birth.

According to sociocultural beliefs, originally the practice of FGM had a single goal of assuring the fidelity of women in Burkina Faso. It is often connected with the rite of passage to adulthood.  Young girls from the majority Mossi group were traditionally secluded during the cutting and taught about their future duties as young women and mothers. The end of the girls’ seclusion was marked by a village-wide celebration with drinking and dancing.

“In the last few years many more people have reported cases of FGM,” said someone from the SP/CNLPE. “This doesn’t mean that more people are practicing FGM, but that more people are aware of the harm caused by the practice and are reporting these cases. In the past they didn’t speak up because FGM is considered a family matter and there is a sense of family and community solidarity. People were afraid they would be treated as social outcasts if they reported cases.  But recently we’ve had many reports from around the whole country, especially from areas where people never reported this before, where there used to be a code of silence surrounding this issue.”


In recent years, progress has been made in Burkina Faso regarding FGM.  In 1996, Burkina Faso was the third African country to ban the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).  The First Lady of this country played a vital role in the outlaw of FGM.  She dedicated more than twenty years toward ending the practice in her country.  Statistics show that today, only 9% of people in this West African nation are in favor of the practice of FGM.

In 2014, an organization called Clitoraid together with Dr. Marci Bowers launched the first hospital in Africa to offer the restorative surgery and special OB-GYN services surrounding FGM.   The small hospital located in Bobo Dialasso, Burkina Faso is called Hospital Kamkaso, meaning Pleasure Hospital, and has 17 rooms but it is a great start.  While the restorative surgery in the U.S. costs approximately $1700, at Hospital Kamkaso in Burkina Faso, it only costs $300.

Join the Campaign and Sign Our Petition to U.S. Department of Education

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation launched a special campaign petition on Change.org in August of this year to the U.S. Department of Education.  The organization which advocates on behalf of women and girls against female genital mutilation has set a goal to collect at least 200,000 signatures; this is in its plight to get the U.S. Department of Education to include at least one lesson in its curriculum on female genital mutilation (FGM) in the elementary and middle schools.

The organization believes that educating the children from an early age, most especially the popular age range of seven through thirteen about the practice of FGM is crucial.  The sooner the children are aware of the practice, the more likely thousands of girls in the U.S. can be spared from undergoing female genital mutilation.  We need your signature to meet our goal.

To sign the petition, please click the link below and watch the video:

Join the Campaign and Sign Our Petition

By signing this petition, you are making your voice heard.  You are joining the thousands of concerned citizens, not only of the United States but of the world to say that the practice of female genital mutilation must be stopped.  You are saying that there is no longer a place in the world for atrocities and violence against woman.  It is a tradition that is older than five centuries but it is tradition that plays no positive role in a girl’s life; instead it can hinder her ability to bear children, and produces a lifetime of both physical and psychological pain.

If you have questions or comments about the campaign prior to signing the petition, please contact us at info@globalwomanpeacefoundation.org.

The Global Woman Center is Open for Appointments

In Virginia, we are located at 901 South Highland Street, Suite 319, Arlington, Virginia 22204 and in Washington DC we are at 3920 Alton Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016.  The hours of operation at the Arlington location are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10:00am until 3:00pm for appointments and at the Washington, D.C. location, only Wednesday and Saturday 10:00am until 12:30pm.  All appointments and information are held confidential.