In response to the unique challenges faced by girls worldwide, International Day of the Girl which falls on October 11 every year was set aside as a day of commemoration to foreground issues faced by girls around the world; it also highlights how the world would be a better place for girls should those problems be solved. In this day and age, girls and women are still being confronted with challenges such as gender inequality, sexual and gender-based violence, teenage pregnancies, child marriages and domestic violence. Also, millions of girls around the globe are experiencing poverty as a result of the economic impacts of COVID-19; this has resulted in the surge in sexual and physical violence since the beginning of the pandemic. Therefore, public awareness of gender discrimination and all forms of abuse must be greatly increased. In addition, we must do more to ensure girls and women have access to economic resources to help better their lives.
As thousands of girls and women go through all forms of abuse globally, I believe it will not be out of order to place more importance on empowering girls to live an abuse-free life, have a voice and be intellectual figures in the society than teaching them how to handle domestic affairs. Our society propagates the notion that a daughter is able to truly live a fulfilled life when she gets married and takes good care of her family; most women accept this as their reality and are thus, impeded from living a purposeful life which must not only include knowing how to care for the family, but also, being able to explore her potential to the fullest, protect her dignity and live on her own terms.
Additionally, in a society where patriarchy is in full force, girls and women are considered as the weaker gender and this in a way influences them to see themselves as incompetent. Rather, girls must be encouraged to use their gentleness to be assertive and make vital decisions in the society.
Moreover, at some point in their lives, females are harshly judged for not meeting certain unnecessary beauty parameters set by the society. Girls should know that these judgements do not make sense and should not be hindrance to living life their own way.
The voice of the girl child needs to be amplified because in that way, they grow to be assertive women as this is key to national development. The girl child can be given a voice through the accommodation of her agency of choice, opinion, feelings and emotions. This will help her feel valued thus, build her self-esteem and self-worth.
We must aspire to a better world inspired and led by girls as part of the global equality movement. Enough must be done to help girls rise to the occasion, through active support from and engagement with parents, families and the wider community.
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