Thousands of women and girls with FGM living across London

Adjura had FGM reversal surgery before the birth of her daughter Dfid-Jesiica Lea Wikimedia commons-1

Adjura had FGM reversal surgery before her daughter’s birth. Photo: Jessica Lea/Dfid

As many as 87,000 women and girls living in London may have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). They range from young children to women over 50 and make up 60% of all women with FGM in the UK.

The borough of Southwark is believed to have the highest number of females affected with an estimated 6,900. Brent has 6,024 and there are nearly 5,000 in both Lambeth and Newham.

The data comes from a study by City University and the human rights organisation Equality Now. They found that there are women and girls with FGM in all local authorities across the country but the 10 boroughs with the highest rates were all in London.


Outside London there is a high incidence in parts of Manchester, Birmingham, Slough, Bristol and Leicester.

Female genital mutilation involves the removal of all or part of the external female genitalia. In many African countries it is traditional practice carried out to control female sexuality and is often linked to the marriageability of girls and family “honour”.

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Women undergoing FGM suffer severe pain and the procedure can cause shock, haemorrhage, and fatal infections.  Longer term, women suffer can suffer chronic pain.

The study used survey data gathered by Unicef and USAID on the prevalence of FGM in 28 African countries plus Iraq and Yemen. In some countries, particularly in the horn of Africa, such as Somalia, FGM is near universally carried out.

Researchers applied this prevalence data to information from the 2011 census on the females born in these countries living in the UK.

Professor Alison Macfarlane of City University said: “These estimates have limitations as they assume that the women who have migrated are typical of women in their country as a whole which may well not be the case. They are needed as it is difficult to collect data directly about the numbers of women affected.”

The study was funded by the Home Office and the charity The London Trust. The purpose of the study is provide information for professionals to plan support service for women with FGM and safeguard those at risk.

The study also looked at the number of daughters born to women with FGM as these girls may be at particular risk. Researchers estimate that between 2005-13 nearly 31,000 girls were born to mothers with FGM in London.

Female genital mutilation was made criminal offence in the UK in 2003 but to date there has been no successful prosecution.

Source data

Tech start ups more diverse than Silicon Valley but women struggle for funding

Photo: Old Street roundabout - Old Street roundabout┃Jack Torcello via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Old Street roundabout┃Jack Torcello via Wikimedia Commons

Silicon Valley may sound a lot hipper than Silicon Roundabout but London’s tech sector is doing better when it comes to diversity than its Californian cousin.

A survey of tech start ups in the UK found that those in London had 26% women compared to 10% in Silicon Valley and 9% in the Israeli tech hub in Tel Aviv. But while women are better represented, including at executive level, the study found a clear gender bias in funding.

Men were 86% more likely than women to get venture capital funding and 59% more likely to get a cash injection from an angel investor. Women are far more likely to be self-funded.

The StartupDNA research was commissioned by the start up accelerator Wayra, which is owned by Telefonica. It also found that the London start up scene is more ethnically diverse than the US. London start ups taking part in the survey were 20.7% BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic), a little better than the 18% recorded in California. The London figure includes a higher representation of black people and other minority ethnic groups.

241 individuals at 222 companies across the UK took part in the research by completing questionnaires. A little more than two thirds of them were in London. Start ups in the capital were younger than the rest of the country – 70% more likely to attract those under 35.

The diverse nature of the London population was also evident in these aspirant tech giants. London firms were over 40% more likely to attract staff from countries in European Economic Area and beyond than those across the UK generally. London tech start up people were also 50% more likely to speak another language.

Source data

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