Juliana Nkrumah AM recently delivered a session on “FGM/C from a Human Rights lens”, to the NETFA Leadership Program participants.
Who are you? (Both professionally and personally)
My name is Juliana Nkrumah AM. I received membership of the Order of Australia on Australia Day January 2013.
Professionally, I am a gender based, social justice and human rights professional. I graduated at the Masters Level in Sociology and Social Anthropology. I am especially passionate about making sure that women from marginalised communities (particularly women from African countries), can understand and access their rights. I am also a public speaker and a group facilitator.
Personally, I am a wife, a mother of 3 adult children, and eldest amongst my cousins and siblings. I live and work in Sydney and enjoy working in the church and supporting young people and women in the church. I am a product of Wesley Girls’ School, Cape Coast in Ghana. I have lost both my parents. I was born in Ghana, where I was a Gospel Singer for 10 years before leaving.
Why do you do what you do?
I do what I do because I strongly believe in social justice. My school’s motto was: “Live Pure, Speak True, Right Wrong, Follow the King”. This motto has shaped my thoughts and approach to life since I was a teenager. I also believe that there is a need for someone to provide space for the expression of African women’s voices in Australia. This, my school motto as well as my faith as a Christian and the accompanying compassion, fuels my drive for what I do.
What work have you done on FGM/C?
I was the first person employed by government in Australia to work on FGM/C. I was instrumental in setting up the principles and structure of the Australian response to FGM/C. For example:
– I set up and led the loose network of FGM/C staff around Australia
– I advocated on issues across levels including inter governmental groups
– I established and conducted the first Spokesperson’s Program, “In Our Own Voice”
– I am a subject matter expert on FGM/C and in that position, I conduct training in the Complex Forms of Violence, delivered as part of DV ALERT by Lifeline.
What is one challenge that you have faced in your work on FGM/C?
A lack of consistency in the approach to education across jurisdictions in Australia. We are lacking sustainable and effective support services to meet the needs of women and girls affected by FGM/C. There is a lack of a Federal approach, instead of state based approach.
What gives you hope when it comes to eliminating FGM/C?
Eliminating FGM/C will take a change of heart of communities. This means achievement of gender equality. If we can dismantle the visages of patriarchy, then there is hope.
Where can people find out more about the work that you do on FGM/C?
People are welcomed to attend the Lifeline run training on Complex Forms of Violence.
If you are open to being contacted by our colleagues in the NETFA network, how can they reach you?
Please reach out to me to conduct sessions and answer questions on FGM/C, via my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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This article was initially published in the NETFA August 2022 newsletter.