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Powerful FGM mapping method expanded to West Midlands

Wicked problems, such as gender inequality need joined up, multi-perspective approaches to create meaningful change. And a key aim of our Gender Equality research network is to bring researchers together across disciplines to animate new collaborations or unique ways of working to enable effective approaches to change. A perfect example of how this can work has recently been provided by researchers in maths and English languages, respectively coming together to develop new ways of addressing female genital mutilation in the UK.


Dr Rowland Seymour, Assistant Professor in Mathematics, recently joined the University of Birmingham from the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab, where he led the Prevalence and Computation group. His work focusses on mapping the prevalence and risk of human rights abuses across the world, including human trafficking in Romania and online child sexual exploitation in the Philippines. Rowland is now part of the Quantitative Approaches to Gender Equality workstream of our Gender Equality network. Rowland attended our lunchtime discussion session on FGM in September 2022, where he was introduced to the work of Professor Jeannette Littlemore and Dr Susan Waigwa in English Language and Literature on the language used in educational and campaign materials in relation to FGM and a new collaboration was born. Susan and Jeannette have also carried out a systematic review to understand the effectiveness of health education campaigns to reduce FGM.


Since meeting in September, the group have decided to bring their knowledge and skills together to try and understand how to improve effectiveness of messaging and to be able to monitor the effect of interventions on risk and prevalence. A central part of this has involved mapping FGM risk in other areas of the UK, with Dr Seymour having most recently completed a mapping of the Birmingham, which you can read below.

Mapping Risk of Female Genital Mutilation in Birmingham
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We're delighted to have brought these research teams together and we can't wait to see where their collaboration leads and the impact their coordinated research approach will have on the understanding and prevention of FGM in the UK.


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