International Women's Day absurd says supermodel

Mon Mar 8, 2010 11:24pm EST
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By Astrid Wendlandt

PARIS (Reuters) - Millions of women around the world are feted on International Women's Day but for Waris Dirie, the Somali nomad turned supermodel, the idea is absurd.

"Every day, women move mountains. It is an insult to have an international women's day," Dirie told Reuters before the premiere of a film based on her life story, coming out in France on Wednesday.

The film, Desert Flower, tells the story of how Dirie used her fame as a model to get the world to care about and fight against female circumcision.

Dirie underwent genital mutilation at the age of three together with her two sisters, who did not survive.

Dirie, a special ambassador to the United Nation for the elimination of female genital mutilation, said governments in Africa cared little about the issue.

"Governments do not care about that type of thing," she said. "They do absolutely nothing to help."

That is why, she said, help needed to come from non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

On its website, the Waris Dirie Foundation, estimates that at least 150 million women and girls are affected by the cruel practice which continues to be performed in Africa and elsewhere around the world.   Continued...

<p>Waris Dirie (R) from Somalia receives the 'World Social Award' from the former president of the Soviet Union and president of the World Awards Mikhail Gorbvachev during the Women's World Awards gala in the northern German city of Hamburg June 9, 2004 file photo. REUTERS/Christian Charisius</p>