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International Day Of The Girl Child, Need For More Inclusion

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As Nigeria joins the world to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, there is no doubt that, despite the gains made in ensuring inclusion in both economic, political and social growth, the girl child still has a long way to go…Friday Editor, RUTH TENE NATSA, writes on the gains, made in the inclusion of the girl child and the many challenges ahead

Statistics by the United Nation’s indicate that, 62 million girls around the world have no access to education, 12 million girls under 18 years will be married off and 21 million girls aged 15 – 19 years will become pregnant in developing countries by the end of 2018.  It is therefore no wonder, that on this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, themed “With Her: A Skilled Girl Force”, UN Women stand with girls everywhere as they inspire, innovate and take charge of their own future. The UN Women on their wall stated, “the 1.1 billion girls of today’s world are challenging the status quo. They’re redefining girlhood, and they’re doing so against the odds.”Across the world, girls face adversities that hinder their education, training and entry into the workforce. They have less access to information, communication technology and resources, such as the Internet where the global gender gap is growing. “A quarter of young people, most of them girls, are neither employed nor getting an education or training,” they said The UN women revealed, “This year alone, 12 million girls under 18 will be married, and 21 million girls aged 15 to 19 years would become pregnant in developing regions. “And yet, they persist, they succeed. They are innovating technology to solve global challenges, they are standing up for the environment, they are raising their voices against violence and they are preparing to run for office.”

Globally, girls face adversities that hinder their ambitions. Yet they persist, they break barriers; they succeed LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that the United Nations General Assembly on December 19, 2011 adopted Resolution 66/170 declaring October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. The Day was adopted to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. The main aims of the day are to promote girls’ empowerment and fulfillment of their human rights while also highlighting the challenges that girls all over the world face.
Despite the remarkable gains in the last decade, millions of girls are still being denied their rights to education particularly in Africa and the Northern part of Nigeria. Furthermore, it is no longer news that young girls and women are more often than not the victims in cases of wars and insecurity as they are left to bear the brunt of a disseminated economy when their male counterparts are killed or wasted during wars and other crises. In Nigeria, it is on record that in spite of the number of men and boys that were affected as a result of the Boko haram insurgency in the North east, girls remain some of the worst victims as was recorded with the kidnap of over 200 girls by the Boko haram insurgents in 2014.
Girls aside being out of school are often victims of rape, early marriage and human trafficking among several others. It is therefore no wonder that several years later, the cry for the inclusion of the girl child in promoting inclusive education has become more pronounced.

Available records by the United Nations indicate that 31 million girls of primary school age are out of school. Of these 31million, 17 million are expected never to enter school.
It states that three countries have millions of girls not in school. In Nigeria, there are almost five and a half million, Pakistan, over three million, and in Ethiopia, over one million girls out of school. There are also 34 million female adolescents out of school, missing out on the chance to learn vital skills for work and life. The UN states, “unless we make quality education for all a priority, these girls will not acquire the skills they need to transition to young adulthood, secure stable employment, understand and exercise their rights as citizens, and continue learning throughout life”. As part of efforts to ensure girl inclusion in education and development, there is no doubt that efforts have been made by government at all levels to ensure that the girl child is given the platform to catch up with her male counterpart. In 2015, the United Nations launched the HeForShe solidarity campaign for the advancement of gender equality, its goal is to achieve equality by encouraging both genders to partake as agents of change and take action against negative stereotypes and behaviours, faced by people with feminine personalities/genders. Nigeria is a signatory to this programme.

Grounded in the idea that gender inequality is an issue that affects all people socially, economically and politically, the campaign seeks to actively involve men and boys in a movement that was originally conceived as “a struggle for women by women”. It was also a relief to many parents in Kaduna State, when the state government, through the state commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Malam Ja’afaru Sani, announced the state government’s full implementation of free education for female students in the state’s public secondary schools as directed by the governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. Sani had explained that, about 191,445 female students currently in public schools are to benefit from the gesture that would cost the government N143.587 million every term and N430.791 million every year.

Sani who addressed a news conference in the state explained that, the government’s decision became necessary with a view to removing all obstacles standing on the way of the girl-child to acquire education in the state. He said, “We hope by this gesture, parents will have no excuse not to send their girl-child to school and significantly increase enrolment and retention of the girl-child in school. This was in line with the significance the current administration placed on educating the girl-child” “It can be recalled that the female students were accorded priority when the government distributed 15,000 tablet computers to secondary school students.” Sani noted.
In spite of these much efforts, LEADERSHIP Friday can report that the war to end girl child exclusion is far from over, as millions are continually trafficked while many others continue to suffer deprivation, rapes and various forms of abuse.

QUOTE:

Available records by the United Nations indicate that 31 million girls of primary school age are out of school. Of these 31million, 17 million are expected never to enter school.





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