International Day of the Girl Child 2020: My Voice, Our Equal Future
Despite the fact that the last few decades have witnessed the global clamor for the expansion, recognition and protection of human rights in all spheres of life, the lives and rights of women and children all around the world continue to be stifled by discrimination and oppression. The girl child particularly remains the most vulnerable in this group as this is where the oppression of both women and children intersect. Following the enactment of a host of international and local laws supporting the rights and equality of the girl child, such as the Beijing Declaration, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and more, the International Day of the Girl Child was established to commemorate the importance of the efforts of such agreements and action plans in furtherance of the empowerment of girls everywhere. Thus, on October 11, 2012, the first International Day of the Girl Child was celebrated and was declared by the United Nations as the official day of observance of this cause. However, there still exists a significant gap between the goals of this cause and the reality of far too many girls, particularly in Nigeria. The girl child in Nigeria still suffers various forms of oppression and inequality due to gender discrimination and the vulnerability of her status as a child, some of which include: gender stereotyping, sexual and gender based violence, female genital mutilation, child marriage, child trafficking, period poverty, access to technology, access to healthcare, access to nutrition and access to education. All these factors have adverse effects on the life of girls and thus, it is important that their realities are brought to light, now more than ever. The prejudicial treatment of girls is detrimental to the Nigerian society as it constitutes a hindrance to the prosperity of the country, but more importantly however, girls are human beings and must be treated as full humans whose lives matter, simply because they do. Therefore, it is the duty of the government and the citizens of Nigeria to ensure and protect the rights of all girls by working to execute the tenets of the global agendas which have been established for the empowerment and protection of girls and by lending their voices to this cause in every other way possible. This can be from challenging certain laws which are discriminatory in nature to criticizing and changing certain harmful laws and customary practices. Lending one’s voice also includes doing work in little and personal ways to protect and ensure that the rights of girls are upheld. This may be through mentoring, sending a girl to school, donating to health and feeding funds, protecting girls against violence and abuse, and so on.
It only takes one person’s action or inaction for inequality and discrimination to be inflicted on a girl child. Thus, it will be through each person’s voice or continual contribution that a collective effort towards a more fair and just society, free of oppression and discrimination, can be formed and lead to an equal future for every girl child in Nigeria.
To learn more, visit our campaign page.