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Friday, August 23, 2002
Stats Check

I was perusing the archives, reading past articles, when this statistic from the debates between myself and Ms. Dellatorre jumped out at me:

2.) Everyday, 6000 girls are genitally mutilated - more than 200 000 per year (2000).
The statistic comes from the Sisterhood is Global Isntitute.

If 6000 girls are genitally mutilated everyday, then in a 365-day year, that comes out to 2,190,000 per year, a lot more than 200,000. This has an error of nearly 1,000%.

I must ask:

1) Is the Sisterhood is Global Institute in the habit of producing bad statistics? or
2) Do they merely pass on bad statistics without bothering to check facts? or
3) Is this a simple typo? Should 200,000 be 2,000,000, or should 6,000 be 600?
I do not wish to trivialize the problem of female genital mutilation, or detract from those who work to stop it. However, if this is not a simple typo, then the cause of women's rights has been done a great disservice. Some unreasonable individuals might conclude that all feminists merely bandy stats about only to serve their agenda, and have no interest in accurately describing women's problems so they might be solved.