In the world today, especially Nigeria, Girls are often treated as inferior, not good enough, and are socialised to put themselves last, thus discriminating their self esteem and power of reasoning. It is a common thought in Nigeria that women belong in the kitchen hence they are deprived of their education right, thus are also forced into early marriage because they believe that educating them is a waste of time and resources.
When I was still in primary school, my dad beat me mercilessly because I took second position in class and a girl came out first position. The two questions that plague my heart daily are:
1) Why treat the your fellow human less than the other because of their “gender” of which no one has control over???
2) Would the world be happy with if it succeeds in totally eradicating the girl child and attain a level of full dominance by males???
3) If I struggle to be more superior than the girl child, and still end up striving to be more superior than my fellow man, what’s now the point of living a whole existence of living to be always superior???
Sexual violence and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, have a devastating effect on children’s health, and girls are more vulnerable than boys to the consequences of unprotected and premature sexual relations. Girls often face pressures to engage in sexual activity. Due to such factors as their youth, social pressures, lack of protective laws, or failure to enforce laws, girls are more vulnerable to all kinds of violence, particularly sexual violence, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, trafficking, possibly the sale of their organs and tissues, and forced labour.
Even the Bible tells us that “my people perish because of lack of knowledge”(ignorance). Today the female counterpart is being neglected or paid less attention to because people are ignorant of the endless cycle of change and development they can fuel if given the chance and resources. Come to think of it, even the mightiest of men came into this world through them so I believe they can do better.
PROBLEM ANALYSIS: IGNORANCE OUR GREATEST ENEMY
For instance Female Genital Mutilation is still being practiced in some parts of Nigeria because they are unaware of the damages and destruction it can cause to the female child.
Ignorance of their sexual and reproductive health rights is as a result of lack of Education. That is, no medium of simulation of information. A 2013 report by UNESCO found that 31 million girls of primary school age were not in school, and about one out of every four young women in developing countries had never completed their primary school education. How then would they get the information they need to make the world a better place?
Gender based violence and early child marriage is still being practiced by some cultures today is not just because of ignorance (which is also a contributing factor) but wrong information passed down to the by their fore fathers.
As we can see that that the major problems are as a result of ignorance or wrong information.
THE BIG SOLUTIONS
Knowledge is the solution to Ignorance. The resources for quality education should be granted to every girl child by doing the following.
1) The government should work in synergy with all private and public hospitals and maternal homes in order to ascertain the number of girls that are being given birth to; then register them for grants or scholarships to fund their education when they are of age. For those that were not registered or given birth to in hospitals, there should be a governmental secretariat established in each local government where their parents can register them.
This would decrease the cost of their education and increase the number of females present in schools thus decreasing the level of illiteracy among them. Education would expose them to some of the problems of the country and challenge their thinking capacities in order to proffer solutions to these problems, thus increasing their relevance in the society.
2) The government should partner or sponsor non-profitable or non-governmental organizations like the One Voice Initiative for Women and Children Emancipation (OVIWCE) to embark on communities in order to tutor the female occupants on their sexual health and reproductive rights and also to encourage the rape victims if any.
This would increase their knowledge on their sexual and reproductive rights and how to overcome such challenges when they come. For the rape victims, it would boost their morale and give them solace in their time of distress. Some of them might even pass down the information to friends and family members, thus decreasing the level of ignorance.
3) There should be creation of more skill acquisition centers for both educated girls and women in at least every community
For the women it would decrease their total dependence on their husbands or spouse for provision. It would also improve the quality of the young girls by providing employment which would in turn generate income to take care of themselves and family. This would also decrease idleness amongst women and encourage giving back to the society.
4) The government should allocate specific seats or slots to females in political positions like senate and house of assembly.
This would increase their participation in politics and decision making, thus creating sustainable change and development in the society. This would easily provide the women occupying these positions with adequate resources to help their fellow women and girls who are just citizens.
5) There should be training of more female advocates to join the fight against gender inequality.
If more individuals especially men are trained to advocate for girls and their right, this would increase the impact of the solution and make it more participatory.
I strongly believe that if these few ideas of mine are applied, it would harness the power embedded in girls and then transform our world for the better. Thank You.
Written by Ekhoe-omoragbon Efosa.