Celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child

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    International Day of the Girl Child

    I am not actually upset or sad by the observance of this day, but the reasons that led to its initiation. The gender inequality that prohibits them from receiving equal opportunities of education, food, medical care, legal rights, employment, etc.; and the social discrimination that justifies all the injustices happening to them, including domestic violence and forced marriages.

    It’s a pain in itself to realize the need for observance of such days even to date. That said, the world observes the International Day of the Girl Child annually on October 11. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution on December 19, 2011, declaring the observance of this day to establish and acknowledge the challenges faced by the girls around the world and recognize the girls’ rights.

    While at this, who do we think is primarily responsible for all this? Society? Neighborhood? Religion? Schools? Companies? Government? Or the World? Well, many may have a hand in it, but anything and everything is mainly defined at the grassroots levels, which in this case is the family, the parents of a girl child. A family is the one that initially decides the roadmap of a child, plants hurdle on it, or helps the child with a smooth ride. 

    Let me illustrate what I am trying to say with a simple example. We met a family who lost their only breadwinner due to COVID. He is survived by his wife and five children (three daughters and two sons). It impacted the schooling of all the children, and the two elder sisters are now working as the mother is not in a position to earn. That said, we (a group of people) pitched in to somehow help them with ration, basic necessities and reinitiate the education of the kids. However, the response the latter got from the mother disappointed me – she very casually said, ‘Please get the education of my sons started, for girls no need – it doesn’t matter if they study or not.” 

    And the irony is, this mindset not only grips the so-called ‘uneducated’ families but many others. It’s not just in the education, but reflects in many other aspects, including the type of field a girl wants to go for, their marriages, basically their entire journey from the day they are born to the day they themselves give birth and even further. 

    Life is something to be treasured, not pressured! A family determined to support their baby girl no matter what can help them live a life ‘worth-living,’ irrespective of their financial status barring all the social stigmas. Depending on your inhabitation, this could be an arduous task but definitely not impossible. And many families, parents, and girls have amazingly exemplified the same. So, now it’s the time to be happy and cherish the positives that have happened in the past and recently.

    Besides raising awareness on the issues faced by girls, the “Day of Girls” also celebrates the ‘successful emergence of girls and young women as a distinct cohort in development policy, programming, campaigning, and research.’ 

    Digital Generation. Our Generation.

    An apt theme for a digital era, and aiming for our young girls to progress with a digital speed! Digital empowerment enables to spread the idea far and wide about the need of such days, about the need to recognize and treat every human being equal – gender-based discrimination in the current generation is not only distressing but also alarming. 

    Hence, apart from highlighting the wrongs, the day also illustrates the transformation that can happen with the acceptance and rectification of this wrong. The health rate, level of education, and the economy will improve by not restricting the girls and the women to receive and achieve what they deserve!

    What can I do?

    I am a girl

    Study hard, not just to get good grades but to understand yourself, your morals, your rights, your duties, your society, and your life.

    I am a boy

    Respect the girls around you – never become a hindrance in the life journey of your sister(s).

    I am a woman

    Work hard for the job, the profession you love. Don’t compromise with your self-respect and life just because you are someone’s daughter/sister/wife/daughter-in-law/mother. If any change would help you revive yourself, do it!

    I am a man

    Respect your colleagues, female friends, wife, mother, mother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, daughter, and/or daughter-in-law. Support them in all ways possible and justifiable. 

    I am a mother

    Always remember all your children are yours, and you are blessed to have each one of them. Don’t discriminate.

    I am a father

    Be it your son or daughter, they all need your support, guidance, love, and affection at all times. Treat and love them equally.

    Let’s be proud of our sisters, daughters, and mothers on this day and end the blog by thanking the woman who proposed the very idea of this day, Rona Ambrose, Minister for the Status of Women, Canada, and mentioning a few excerpts from the UN’s thoughts on this event.

    Adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years, but also as they mature into women. If effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders.

    Happy Day of Girls!

    Avani Raj Arora 

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