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Foreign Policy Foreign Policy

Work to end the subjugation and mutilation of women

Last updated: 08:45pm 11 December 2019

We will work to end the subjugation and mutilation of women, to combat the brutal slave trade in fellow human beings and to prevent catastrophic environmental degradation.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.39

Our verdict

Gender equality is a fundamental human right, enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Despite near global acknowledgement of this fact in official circles, the lived reality for many women and girls around the world remains one of daily discrimination and violence. Female genital mutilation stands out as a horrific and widespread violation of the rights of women and girls. As part of a broad commitment to ‘leading the world in development’, this policy promises to ‘work to end the subjugation and mutilation of women’.

In September 2017, the government published a document outlining its Humanitarian Reform Policy, which promised to fully deliver on commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, including a raft of measures under the heading ‘Women and Girls: Catalysing Action to Achieve Gender Equality’.

In January 2018, the National Action Plan on Women, Peace & Security was published – a five-year strategy ‘to reduce the impact of conflict on women and girls and to promote their inclusion in conflict resolution’. Following this, in March 2018, the Department for International Development (DFID) issued the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality: A Call to Action for Her Potential, Our Future. Essentially a statement of support for the Global Goals of the United Nations, the document contains further details of DFID’s response to global gender inequality. In October 2018, the UK hosted the Safeguarding Summit looking at tackling sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment in the aid sector. A progress report the following year detailed government efforts to maintain momentum towards the commitments arising from the summit.

The government has undertaken various projects, published strategy and policy documents, and made funding and other commitments aimed at ending the subjugation and mutilation of women. We are far from achieving gender equality, both at home and abroad, but there’s enough evidence that the government has worked towards the goal of this promise for us to say this policy is ‘done’.

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