Interview with Amanda Parker on the Ayaan Hirsi Foundation, Violence Against Women, FGM, and Child Marriage – In-Sight Journal

Amanda Parker is the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Director of the AHA Foundation. She discusses: background; tasks and responsibilities; prevalence of FGM, clitoridectomy, infibulation, and so on, other organizations; mental health and physical and sexual health problems, and negative outcome for girls and women who have undergone FGM; parsing of the context, or the environment in which this occurs, whether within the US or around the world; moving into 2019 and 2020; and final feelings and thoughts.

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is background life, e.g., geography, culture, religion or lack thereof?

Amanda Parker: I am originally from Southwest Kansas. I am a Christian, Protestant. I moved from Southwest Kansas to New York City after college. I worked in finance. I worked in Residential Mortgage-backed Securities before the Subprime Crisis.

My entire department closed. I was telling a girlfriend of mine. I was interested in doing something more warm and fuzzy in terms of the content of the work. I was thinking of going into publishing or the nonprofit world. Because I could imagine getting out of bed for either of those things in the world.

My friend said, “Oh! You have to meet my friend, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She is a New York Times bestselling author. She has a women’s rights foundation.” She introduced me to Ayaan. Ayaan and I hit it off right away.

The foundation, however, didn’t yet have staff. It was still in the process of getting itself organized. The board was forming. They were getting all the necessary insurance and bylaws. Those sorts of things.

I have been working with Ayaan personally to help her be organized on a personal level. Then when the foundation had seed money, I shortly moved over to the foundation. I have been there since.

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