Girl-Child Day: Status of girls worries FIDA

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Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has noted the disadvantages and difficulties faced by females, expressing worry that “the world is progressively biased towards the rights and future of the girl-child.”

This was contained in a statement signed by the Country Vice President/CVP FIDA Nigeria, Amina Suzanah Agbaje, to mark the 2022 International Day of the Girl-Child on the theme “Our Time is Now-Our Rights, Our Future”.

According to the statement, early marriage, sexual and gender-based violence, lack of educational opportunities, lack of funding, child-labor, trafficking, early pregnancy amongst other myriad of challenges hinder the girl child.

“To be born a girl-child in most parts of the world comes with its own disadvantages and difficulties which are increasingly faced by females in a world that is progressively biased towards the rights and future of the girl-child. 

“This holds true particularly as it relates to the opportunities available to the girl -child, who appears to have the deck stacked against her and fewer chances to excel,” statement said.

“One glaring constraint is the lack of access to affordable, inclusive and qualitative education which is a basic right. In Nigeria alone, the issues of early marriage, sexual and gender-based violence, lack of educational opportunities, lack of funding, child-labor, trafficking, early pregnancy, poverty, illiteracy, harmful gender stereotypes, male gender preferences, insecurity, disabilities, discriminatory laws, ingrained socio-cultural and religious beliefs, economic and political discrimination, are some of the challenges faced by the girl-child, which are further exacerbated by patriarchy, making the girlchild truly “endangered” in all ramifications. 

“Closely related to the above is the issue of gender inequality and gender discrimination, which are huge social problems facing women all over the world, and a barrier to human development,” the statement added.

She stated that  despite the myriad challenges which have lifelong consequences for the girl-child and the society at large, the resourcefulness and resilience of the girl-child is unmatched, proving time and time again that given the right conditions, opportunities, impetus, the girl-child is a change-driver, changing the narrative towards a better world.

“There has been increased attention and focus on issues that affect the girl-child, yet sadly this does not in reality translate to investments in the wellbeing and actualization of the rights of the girl-child, with women continually being victims of discrimination and under-represented in all spheres of the society, further made worse by the gradual increase in humanitarian crises around the world of which the female child is at worst risk,” she added.

She therefore stressed the importance of education of the girlchild, saying it is the cornerstone of all development and the starting point for success, bestows the disposition for the acquisition of knowledge.

“The importance of girl-child education cannot be over-emphasized as every child deserves to be educated irrespective of gender, religion or disability being a basic human right as recognized by the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

“It is time to further galvanize, spur and engage stakeholders all over the world; government officials, policy makers, other change drivers, to deeply amplify our voices towards providing a fertile, conducive and safe environment devoid of discrimination and filled with opportunities for the girl-child to thrive effectively and achieve her fullest potential

“FIDA Nigeria in addition to the above, also calls for the adoption of non -policy measures i.e change in attitude and perception about gender roles, public enlightenment and sensitization on implication and ills of gender stereotyping and discriminatory practices.

“Let us join hands to ensure that the girl-child thrives as she sets to fulfil her potential and take on the world given the right boost, enabling environment, and the platform to make that change,” she urged. 

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