It was yet another usual day in my life and I started it on a positive note by going for a walk. MJs and their never-ending playlists fulfill my pleasures of walking but today was different. In between these songs were government ads promoting the need of education and empowerment to the GIRL children of India. The speaker went on and on praising the worth of a girl child in the family insisting individuals to raise girl children with equal care, importance and priority as they would shower on a male child. This struck me like lightning and I couldn’t digest the fact that still we are promoting our nation to forego female infanticide and educate girl children. Today being the International Day of the Girl Child, there is no harm in social media trying its best possible ways to uplift the importance of a girl child.
It was in 2012 that the United Nations started observing the International Day of the Girl Child to raise awareness on the inequality issues surrounding girls worldwide. There is inequality at every step in a girl’s life-education, legal rights, discrimination, violence against women, child marriage, sexual abuse and the list goes on and on. Small babies are sexually assaulted and the world is heading nowhere ahead with horrifying statistical data surrounding us.
More than 600 million adolescent girls will be ready to enter workforce in the next decade. 90% of them reside in developing countries and will pursue work in informal sectors where pay scale is comparatively low and exploitation/abuse is common. The scenario today shows that most of the girls today are not able to learn skills that can assure them of a secure job in the future. Almost 10% of primary school children are out of school while many others drop out of secondary school owing to economic issues. It’s always the girl child whose education is curbed during economic crisis in the family. Boy children are made to complete their education by hook or by crook being the future breadwinners of the family. The world is moving towards innovation and automation. Girls need to equip themselves with skills that are on par with market requirements but sadly many lack teachers, facilities or the guidance required to succeed in their endeavors.
This year’s theme is “With Her: A Skilled Girl Force” and to do justice to this theme each of us must work towards creating better learning opportunities for girl children and plan for their endeavor into workforce. Sharpening their skills and enabling them to compete against men in the workplace is the need of the hour. A parent’s duty doesn’t end with marrying away the girl child and giving her a life to lead. It starts right from the birth of the girl baby equipping her with abilities and confidence to lead a life on her own. Instead of gender stereotyping women and their professions/work, let’s try to involve women in every field of work possible. We do have women as fighter pilots, reputed doctors, CEOs of big organizations and even in our army and navy. But the ratio is extremely disproportionate and it is this ratio that we must work towards improving and increasing. All this makes us question ourselves-Are women the weaker sex? Get your question answered at www.firsteatright.com.
Stop typecasting women into stereotype roles such as teachers and nurses. Depict a woman policeman in the child’s GK books, elaborate on the achievements of women in the workforce or give the example of a woman CEO while talking about administration. Today’s girls are tomorrow’s powerful women force. Let’s support their growth and remove any barriers surrounding their skillsets.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.