The "Multisectorial Academic Program to prevent and combat female Genital Mutilation (C / MGF)" is a research project involving several universities, including ISCTE-IUL through CEI-IUL, in partnership with the Rey University Juan Carlos de Madrid, among other universities and entities.
Laura Nuño is one of the responsible for this project that aims to train professionals from various areas in a policy of awareness and prevention. The specialist explains the importance of the theme and the work developed.
Ricardo Falcão| Laura, you are the Director of The Gender Observatory of URJC (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos) of Madrid, how did this project came to life? what were the obstacles you faced setting up an Observatory focused on Gender?
Laura Nuño |Fundamentally, gender studies and the feminist theory tend to be perceived as ideology and, therefore, as non-science. And that consideration determines the marginalized space given to these studies within the academy and ix explains why this very scientific area of knowledge tends to be questioned and devalued.
R.F. | You are also responsible for the several gender studies programmes, in your experience how does Spanish society deals with Gender issues?
L.N. |The existing legislative commitments regarding the insertion of gender equality at all levels of education are not being fulfilled. The non-compliance with the law of equality doesn’t have consequences and its implementation depends, in practice, on the voluntarism of everyone.
R.F. | Through the URJC you are coordinating the MAP-FGM project, why have you decided to work on FGM?
L.N. |Because it was extremely rare to find courses where FGM was part of the training of future professionals. The ignorance about the meaning and implications of practice has harmful consequences on girls and women at risk of being subjected to it.
R.F. | In what consists this project, and why is it important in a moment such as this?
L.N. |In order to avoid the consequences of this lack of knowledge, MAP-MGF aims to incorporate training on FGM / C into university education in a standardized way and from an interdisciplinary perspective. It is important because we live in societies that are becoming more pluralistic in cultural terms and that challenges us all, especially doctors, nurses, professors, social workers, lawyers, policy makers, etc.
R.F. | Apart from the Multisectoral Guide you have coordinated with a team of experts, how important is it that the project also has academic seminars? And so far how many have there been?
L.N. |Because cultural practices are complex phenomena with several edges. The international congresses are spaces of debate and reflection that allow to exchange experiences, findings or researches and good practices with the depth and complexity required.
R.F. | ISCTE-IUL is one of your partners, as are other universities in Rome, Brussels, and Foundations in Barcelona and Italy. Why is it important to create a network working on FGM/C and Gender related issues?
L.N. |Precisely because of what was mentioned above. Only from an interdisciplinary view it is possible to approach a topic such as FGM/C. Working in a network of experts allows knowledge and experience to be shared.
R.F. | How important do you think is for Universities to engage Human Rights issues in an action oriented approach?
L.N. |Because it would be a fool not to do so. If you do not incorporate these aspects in higher education, especially in the university, where are you going to do it? Our present days of neoliberal, militarist and patriarchal practices are not an easy walk for human rights, and the first step to demand human rights fulfilment is the knowledge of them.
The III International Seminar of the MAP-FGM project will be held in Lisbon and is being prepared by the CEI-IUL team. It will take place in the 28th and 29th September 2017 in ISCTE-IUL under the theme “Institutional Responses to FGM/C”. This seminar will have 1 keynote speech, 5 roundtables and 1 documentary screening. The programme is now closed and you can access it in the website of the event: http://mapfgmpt.cei.iscte-iul.pt/en/home