Define a girl… A young female child yeah? So, why do we keep adding “child” to the back of a girl referring to her as “girl child”? Isn’t that tautology? Don’t worry, I’m not about to criticize or cause a fight here. It’s just for emphasis! The child can be added to a boy as well, so again I come in peace.
Adding “child” to girl is not the issue here, how the Girl Child is perceived in the society is what’s more important. Who the girl child is to you, determines how she will be treated and how she will be addressed.
Doesn’t she constitute half of the over 7 billion people in the world? Isn’t she a part of the 360,000 babies born daily? Is she defined as a family asset, with special roles to play? Is she only defined by the incredible ability to keep a baby in her uterus? Or her body features? More than a mother, daughter, sister? Who is this girl child?
Shouldn’t she also have liberty to enjoy the rights and privileges in the society? A UNICEF report states that 65 million girls are deprived of basic access to education; more than half of the 121 million children that are denied education in the world. According to them, even when these girls have the opportunity to access education, they are faced with several challenges in continuing, some traced to extra burden/ unequal share of the household tasks due to customary practices in many regions of the world.
More so, since the girl child makes up half of the population, isn’t it only fair for her to grow to be part of the change makers? However, across the world, only a few women hold executive positions and when they do, they have to put in extra work for their voices to be heard.
Are you still expecting my definition of the girl child? Let me give you snippets from a poll on the idea of the girl-child.
“My idea of girl-child is holistically couched in the reality that women are the homemakers and life breeders of the human species. For that mere fact, a girl-child is undeniably special and important to our continued existence also for our unending pursuit on earth and of the true nature of humanity”.
“Diplomatically, a girl child is a less privileged female gender (child), this is also often used to depict the right(s) for the less fortunate of the formal gender”.
“The girl child is a girl that’s a child”
What then is the ideal girl child? You may ask.
“She means the world to me. I think ladies give the world hope”.
I would like to dwell on this individual’s perception of the girl child. Girls give the world hope. What a girl child really is, is one who gives hope to her society. If you think about it, the girl-child is naturally designed to nurture and this alone is tasking in itself asides the other goals she may have in her mind. If she is well able to do this, and also work hard to achieve that which she puts her mind to, then she sure gives the world hope. ‘Hope’ refers to an expectation of positive outcomes. This is what girls can bring, if they have the opportunity.
“…A girl-child is undeniably special and important to our continued existence also for our unending pursuit on earth and of the true nature of humanity”.
Desmond Tutu said “If we are going to see real development in the world then our best investment is WOMEN!” development is a good thing and that is part of the hope that every girl-child offers.
Some people are aware of the hope the girl child gives, they however channel this “hope” to fit only a few roles in the society. Just a few see a broader perspective. A lot of people only see the girl as been able to do certain things and not have the power to do much more. This is why for example, some families in the Northern parts of Nigeria would rather send their boys to school than their female children. The notion is that her role is in the kitchen or that after all, she will just get married and carry another man’s name.
Fortunately, things are beginning to change and the importance of the girl-child in the society is a thing that more people are coming to acknowledge and accept. Several civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations have been and are still pushing for education for the girl child, and inclusion of women in executive positions however the true freedom from discrimination against the girl child; from the wrong perceptions is yet to be fulfilled.
A major call will be that our governments need to intensify efforts to attain true freedom. They must be deliberate in the design and implementation of the policies and programs to suit the needs of the girl-child.
If you understand the importance and the need of the girl-child in the society, you would fight for her cause, you would recognize that women are not solely tied to the roles they perform at home. You would realize that all her dreams are valid. You would also support people and organizations who invest in her cause. Girl Child Care Advancement Initiative being one of such. You should support this movement!
“Imagine if you have a team and you don’t let half of the team play. That’s stupid. That makes no sense. And the evidence shows that communities that give their daughters the same opportunities as their sons, they are more peaceful, they are more prosperous, they develop faster, they are more likely to succeed.”- Barack Obama
-A concerned girl-child, Tobi Kolawole