THEME: Our time is now—our rights, our future.
“Girl Child Remember this, you are phenomenal, you are outstanding, you are unstoppable, Your time is now”
The Beijing declaration was the first to initiate a campaign for the rights of girls in the year 1995, afterwards the United Nations adopted October 11 as the International day of the Girl Child.
This day is celebrated annually and internationally to acknowledge the potentials of girls all over the world, this day is set aside to recognize the power of adolescent girls and also encourage them to speak out against gender based challenges which includes Leadership discrimination, child marriage, violence and abuse, poor learning opportunities.
Talking about Discrimination in leadership in Nigeria, discrimination in leadership is common in primary schools and mixed secondary schools, this common practice begins when the head or principal of a school tells the pupils/Students that the school captain must be a boy while the girl assist him, even when the girl met the leadership expectations more than the boy, in some universities the girls who decides to run for the Office of the president for Student Union Government are being told to step down or assist a boy, it has always been a difficult task to allow girls to show their leadership capacities. Allow these girls to lead by example, the time of the Girl Child is now, give them the opportunity to show their leadership traits, there should be no discrimination. Allow the Girl Child to get involved in the family decision making, in the communities and in the schools.
There is this popular awkward saying which goes this way “The women’s education ends in the kitchen”
In that kitchen, these girls do more unpaid child labor, girls between 5 to 14 spend more than 28 hours doing labor, they are being given the responsibility of a caregiver, a home keeper, a bread winner, and an assistant mother.
This mentality has eaten deep into the minds of so many people that it have affected the chances of giving the Girl Child quality education, their
Learning capacity depreciates because the people around them believes that they belong to the kitchen, there by making it very difficult for these girls to access quality education.
The girl child is vulnerable to various forms of violence, she is faced with violence in the society, such as physical violence, emotional violence and sexual violence which tramples on her self-esteem and makes her withdrawn from the activities happening around her. Violence and abuse is a violation of her human rights. When we talk about violence and abuse against the girl child, it also points at Human trafficking, 96% of these humans that are trafficked are Girls, they are taken to different parts of the world for sexual exploitation.
Violence and abuse against the girl child is being facilitated by a lot of things like cultural beliefs and practices, social customs, illiteracy, lack of awareness, poverty and Patriarchal practices.
We can challenge these unfavorable practices against the Girl child by creating awareness in our different localities, teaching and empowering young women and Girls, using the media to enlighten everyone on the dangers of Violence and abuse against the girl child, taking Parental duties serious.
Child marriage, a menace which has eaten deep into our system, it is an issue being raised every year due to its regular occurance. The negative effects of child marriage cannot be overemphasized, it brings their childhood to an abrupt end. Little girls are being married off as brides at a very young age, a good number of them are married off every day around the world.
The Girl Child is greatly affected by child marriage, child marriage has its negative influence on their right to good health, security and quality education, it takes away their childhood opportunities. The impact of Child marriage is very and destructive to the Girl Child, it gives room for violence, exploitation, abuse and health implications, In an Analysis given by “NationalToday” HIV is prevalent among girls, an estimated 340,000 girls and young women are infected with the virus every year and currently more than 3 million girls and young women are living with HIV all over the world.
Child marriage is greatly incited by ignorance, poverty, gender inequality and social security. Child marriage can be curbed by engaging girls and young women in an interactive and educative seminars and workshops, skill aqusition programs, sensitization and awareness. The Government should setup strict laws and punish anyone who supports child marriage. Putting an end to child marriage requires everyone at different level to show support no matter your tribe or religion.
As we commemorate the Day of the Girl Child, we must get involved in girls’ awareness and sensitization campaign, the men have to show their support in spreading the awareness on gender based violence, inequality and abuse. We are expected to make the girls around us feel special by empowering and encouraging them in an appropriate way, we must appreciate the girls around us for thriving and standing tall. We must also try as much as we can to get involved in the theme of the International day of the Girl Child 2022 “Our time is now—our rights, our future”
Happy International day of the Girl Child
Our time is now, Our Rights and Our future.
OBILOR GRACECLIFFS EBUBECHUKWU