Written By: Ako Blessing.
The girl child is a blessing to nher family and and as such be treated as such.
There are challenges facing the girl child that is one way or another been neglected. For example they see the male child as superior, a girl been sexually abused, early marriage, early childbirth, poor sanitation and rape, these and more I am going to examine and also suggest ways in solving these challenges.
However, it is pertinent to examine how Nigeria has fared in ensuring that these issues are tackled, even as gender activists and members of the civil society believe the Nigerian government has a long way to go in providing the right condition for the girl child to attain her full potentials, and needs to marshal out plans to get more girls into schools.
On october 11 2015, the Executive Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said that government has not done enough in addressing issues concerning the girl child and needs to get more girls in schools.
She also said that Nigeria still contributes to the highest number of out-of-school children. Looking at the dynamics of out-of-school children statistics, it is better to agree that it has a regional dimension.
There seems to be a higher number in the northern part of Nigeria, particularly where the Chibok girls were kidnapped.
There is also the issue of safety and security in schools; girls tend to suffer violence.
From ages 15 and 24, about one out of every three girls have suffered violence one way or the other, either through sexual harassment, rape or incest. So it is important for the government to address the issue of sexual education, provide incentives for girls to complete in primary and secondary schools.
Mrs. Obioma Evelyn Agoziem, The Executive Director, Centre for Corrections and Human Development, made mention that part of the challenges facing the girl child in Nigeria include gender discrimination, gender-based labour division, female mutilation, early marriage, lack of education and sexual abuse.Some areas in Nigeria are more associated with some of these issues than others.
A girl child from the northern part of Nigeria is faced with more issues than her counterpart from the south. She has higher tendency of not going to school; it is very easy to give her out in marriage as early as age 11.
This has exposed so many to Vesico-Vagina Fistula (VVF) problems and some are eventually ostracised because of the nature of the disease.
Another pressing issue is rape; you hear of a two year old being molested by her father. That child grows up hating men, being a lesbian or having low self-esteem.
However, a child who has been raped, is predisposed to certain diseases, including cancer and HIV/AIDS.
On the other part , the girl child is influenced by the socialisation of boys being superior to girls, and made to come after a boy not minding if she is older. In the society, she is confronted with gender-based violence, peer pressure, from the influence of social media, to high societal expectations.
In the rural areas, she is a victim of teenage pregnancy; in the north, she is a target of early marriage and, of course, recent cases of kidnapping have compromise girl child education and safety.
Bearing in mind that the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030, which comes on the heels of winding down of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) programme, has provisions for the girl child, there is hope for improvement in the condition of the girl child in Nigeria.
Parents should be encouraged to send their daughters to school and also discourage them to stop sending their girls to hawk; it exposes them unduly to men who might sexually abuse them.
Using under-aged girls as house helps is reducing because of the laws criminalising it.
The girl child needs protection. She is might get attacked from many angles, in the home, school, church, among groups, anywhere at all; she is a target. She needs sound education.
If she understands her rights and privileges, it will help her not to be a tool in the hand of people. She needs to understand life development skills and more opportunities will be made available her.
She needs more scholarships to further her education and adequate medicBlessingAkowever, the parents are the first custodians for girls, the protection of the girl child is their primary responsibility. These days that some fathers are abusing their own daughters, mothers should be more vigilant.
We should not give anything to chance, we must not trust our girls with anybody, not even brothers or home teachers. Government should also create enabling environment for the girl child to excel.
Above all, everybody should care for the welfare of the girl child.
The family has00 a lot to improve the self esteem of the girl child and not undermine her great potentials, which has been the norm, from culture and tradition. The girl child is a winner anywhere if given the same opportunity as the boy child.
A girl Child is as important as the boy child and should not be discriminated against.