"Protect the girls, respect the women," says Sierra Leone minister

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Sylvia Blyden, Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs in Sierra Leone. UN News/Elizabeth Scaffidi

Protecting girls from forced or underage initiations like female circumcision has always been a focus of Sylvia Blyden, Sierra Leone's Minister of Gender and Social Affairs.

She made the remarks on the margins of a disability conference at UN headquarters in New York that was held in June.

Sierra Leone is one of the 28 African countries where the procedure is practised, according to the World Health Organization or WHO.

Ms Blyden has worked with police officers to rescue girls who face circumcision, which is the partial or full remove of their external genitalia as part of a ritual or in preparation for marriage.

She sat down with Liz Scaffidi to discuss this issue and women's equality, as well as how she has "made history" as the youngest person to lead a political party in her country.

Duration: 5’04″

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