Godula Kosack

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Prof. Dr. Godula Kosack is the CEO of TERRE DES FEMMES e.V.

in 2020 she spoke in a video message on WWDOGA:

I am Godula Kosack. I am the CEO of TERRE DES FEMMES - Human rights for the woman.

Today is May 7th, World Genital Self-Determination Day. Self-determination - understood as the ultimate goal of human maturation - is a process that lasts a lifetime. This process needs accompaniment: first by the mother, who then puts the baby on her breast when it signals the need, and then by the father, who gives additional impulses. Kindergarten, school, training - all these institutions are aimed at strengthening the personality and guiding it according to social ethics. Ideally, the caregivers aim to do good to the child and not inflict pain. At the age of 18 - it has become a convention worldwide - the child is then mature enough to be considered an adult and to decide about their own life.

In this context, what does the surgical intervention on the healthy genitals mean - for both girls and boys? Female genital mutilation has now been outlawed by major international organizations such as the UN, UNICEF, UNIFEM and also World Health Organization as "harmful traditional practice" and has been denounced as a violation of human rights. TERRE DES FEMMES has declared war on her since 1981, when this topic became known in Germany. It is banned in many countries where female genital mutilation is practiced. Nevertheless, 200 million women and girls worldwide are affected - with serious health consequences.

Genital mutilation is practiced because it is believed to belong to the tradition of a people, because it supposedly turns a girl into a woman, because a girl otherwise has no chance of marriage, or because uncircumcised women are considered sexually insatiable. However, all of these sham reasons only allow one conclusion: The purpose of female genital mutilation is to control men over female sexuality.

It is more difficult to position oneself against boys' circumcision, which affects between a quarter and a third of the world's male population. Because it is considered a religious commandment. It is a sign of the covenant with God or it is a symbolic act of inclusion in the community of adult men. Its wide distribution gives the impression that it is harmless. However, depending on the definition, there are significant complications in 2 to 10% of all affected.

What is common to male and female genital cutting? Even if female genital mutilation has far-reaching consequences, circumcision of male genitalia is also a violent encroachment on a child's physical and mental integrity. The operation, which is mostly carried out in infancy, is a huge shock for the child. An already traumatic pain is inflicted on the most sensitive part of the body. This pain is exacerbated by the fact that it is affirmed and accompanied by the people who should actually be its protectors.

The child is conveyed deep inside that his physical and mental integrity has its limits; it is branded for life. It can only regain its self-determination through an awareness process and a fight against the customs that have drawn it.

Every form of genital circumcision is an irreversible intervention in the physical and thus also in the mental integrity of a child. TERRE DES FEMMES sees the struggle for the right to physical, genital and sexual self-determination as a concern for society as a whole. Child protection must apply to all children. Children's rights cannot be put into perspective - not even by gender. No tradition and no religion can undermine children's rights and thus human rights.

Our vision is that one day everyone will live an equal, self-determined and free life. That is why TERRE DES FEMMES is supporting the World Genital Self-Determination Day today on May 7th.
Godula Kosack (WWDOGA 2020)[1]


In 2021 she was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on ribbon for her work.


  1. REFweb WWDOGA 2020 - Godula Kosack, YouTube, MOGiS e.V.. Retrieved 14 May 2020.