The theme of this year's International Day of the Girl Child “Our Time Is Now – Our Rights, Our Future.”
Why the International Day of the Girl Child is important
Today, October 11th is the International Day of the Girl Child, and we know you might be thinking why the girl child? Why does she have a special day?
In many African countries, the girl child is discriminated against in so many ways. How so, you ask?
Well, here are a few ways;
She is denied a right to an education
When it comes to choosing who to send to school, many illiterate parents will send the boys because they want the girls to stay home and help with domestic chores or work to earn money. There is also the belief that girls will get married, so there’s no need to waste money on their education.
Her reproductive rights are denied
In many African countries, female genital mutilation was and is still prevalent. This painful ritual was to prevent them from being ‘promiscuous’, but it also caused a lot of infections. Not to mention the lack of proper sex education that leads to unwanted pregnancy. They also don’t have access to hygiene amenities like sanitary pads.
She is the victim in most sexual abuse and rape cases
Most of the cases of sexual abuse and rape are young girls. According to Rainn, "Females aged 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.'
She becomes a child bride
Even in a country like Nigeria, for religious and cultural reasons many young girls are brought up to believe that their sole purpose in life is marriage, and many African parents marry off their young girls.
She is likely to be trafficked
Either as a maid or a prostitute, the prospects of uneducated young African women are pretty bleak. According to ctdatacollaborative, “The average age for registered victims of trafficking is 27, and half of all victims are aged between 19 and 33.”
That is why a day celebrating young African girls is important, but not only that action needs to be taken to sensitize those in rural areas and provide education and opportunities for the girl child.
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