Empowering The Girl Child

Ways of empowering the girl child

The girl child is marginalized and in as much as people will say that the boy child has been forgotten the girl child is still oppressed and mainly in rural areas. They do not have access to education as the parents give more priority to the male child when it comes to going to school. Most of the cultural practices practiced on the girl child end up harming them immediately or later down the line. For example FGM makes it hard for the girl to give birth when her time comes and sometimes they die. A lot still has to be done and various sectors of the community need to really make stringent measures to bring the girl child to a level playing field with the boy child.

1. Educational Access: Education is an important part of the growth of a child. It is one of the needs of a child that need to be fulfilled. Education gives them a greater power and independence because they are now knowledgeable in a number of things. They are able to make better decisions for themselves, their families and communities.

Studies state that every additional year of schooling increases a woman’s earning capacity by 15%. To be able to achieve this, the parents and community should be involved and the governments should increase the budget or free education. Schools should also be built within the vicinity so as to reduce the distance at which the girl walks to school. A lot of things happen in this long walks to schools.

With all the benefits stated above the statistics are still shocking as 60 million girls worldwide are not in school and 80% of girls in African rural areas do not have access to education.

2. Curb traditional practices that oppress the girl child: Some communities in Africa still have cultures which are against the rights of the girl child. The most common are Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages. 20 million girls in Africa undergo female genital mutilation. 1 out of every 4 girls in Kenya is married off before they are 18 years old. This causes a lot of risks for them like:-

  • They become school dropouts
  • Early pregnancies
  • Poor health
  • Susceptible to domestic violence.
  • Inter-generational poverty

Law enforcers and law makers should be sensitized on the things that oppress the girl child. They should also enforce laws that protect the girl child from oppressive cultures like the ones stated above. The community should also be vigilant and report parents or elders that engage in oppressing the girl child

3. Imparting life skills: Most of the children who are oppressed do not know what to do in the different situations they find themselves in. The government, NGO’s, schools and different human rights organizations should take upon themselves to impart necessary life skills to the girls. They should know where to go and find refuge if they are forced into early marriage or FGM. They should also be informed about the law, their health and also their human rights.

4. Raising boys with the mentality of equality: The boys should be raised up knowing that the girl child can be more then what culture dictates. They should share in the chores at home to start with. This seems like a very minute thing but if the boys’ help around they get to see that them and the girls are not any different.

They should also be taught to look at girls as worthwhile partners in all areas of life and not subordinates. They can work together in bringing up a better community. They should also not harbor harmful attributes and habits about women, girls should be respected.

If the men elders and father had this imparted in the boys at a tender age then they would not marry off their girls at a young age. They would let them voice the decisions that affect their lives and they would listen and advice if need be.

5. Media involvement: The media has been accused of showing very little news when it comes to inspirational women. That’s why the Girl Child campaign was started. They want the media to run 5 more minutes of positive news about women every week for six months.

This will give the girl child foresight and for people to look up to and open their minds to what they can achieve. The child will be able to see that they can do as much as boys can or even more. Some organisations setup all-female tech startup as one that inspires young girls everywhere. They even do training to make the girl child a generator of solutions for their communities.

 

By, RACHAEL WAMBUA (Agency Report)

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