FGM

Why I'm talking about everything we're told not to

Nimko Ali on 'oversharing' about periods, orgasms, FGM and menopause
Nimko Ali describes herself as an oversharer. As someone who's campaigned against Female Genital Mutilation - something she has been through herself - by talking publicly about it and lifting the veil. 

But while FGM was the subject that encouraged her to speak up, she's made it her mission to explore ALL the taboos around women's health and biology, including periods, orgasms, childbirth and the menopause.

Her new book - "What We're Told Not to Talk About (But We're Going to Anyway)" - includes stories from 42 women in 14 different countries - including Ethiopia and Syria.

As this is about exploring taboos - some people may find some of these subjects uncomfortable.

(Photo: Nimko Ali. Credit: Getty Images)

First lady explains why she won't campaign on FGM

Fatima Maada Bio
Getty Images

Sierra Leone's first lady, Fatima Maada Bio, has defended her decision not to campaign on female genital mutilation (FGM), describing it as "a controversial subject that I'm trying to really remove myself from".

Ms Maada Bio, who is a passionate advocate for women's rights including early marriage and rape, said that as a "circumcised woman" herself, she has not seen enough evidence to campaign on the subject.

"It's not like I am not passionate about it, it's just that I don't know much about it," she told BBC Focus on Africa.

She said she has been circumcised since she was a child and does not know what life is like otherwise.

She said that neither of her two daughters are circumcised, not because she does not believe in the practice, but because they are scared of injections and pain.

Why would a mother make her daughter undergo FGM?

A woman who experienced female genital mutilation explains her mother's motives
Dr Leyla Hussein has had first-hand experience of female genital mutilation. She explains how mothers feel pressurised into putting their daughters through the practice, even when - in Leyla's case - the father's family may not insist on it.

"I was pinned down by the women who I trusted the most."

Photo: Woman walking alone Credit: Getty Images
International Women's Day: What's left for feminists to fight?
Gemma Abbott of Free Periods, Sam Smethers of the Fawcett Society, and writer and activist Nimco Ali on their campaigns.