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Happy International Day of the Girl Child

Story Time


“In 1995 at the World Conference on Women in Beijing countries unanimously adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing the rights of not only women but girls. The Beijing Declaration is the first to specifically call out girls’ rights”.

The International Day of the Girl Child’s intention is to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.

The girl child has the right to a safe, educated and healthy life.

Exclusion supported by culture, communities and social norms

Girls have been posed to stereotypes and exclusion. Exclusion subjected by cultures, communities and social norms. From birth, there is a degree of rejection that a girl child faces that is unheard of.

It is the girl child’s body that is tampered with through harmful practises such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It is the girl child who is subjected to child marriages. It is the girl child that the purity culture only applies to. It is the girl child who faces “son preference”.

The astounding reality about these harmful experiences is that on every occasion there was an opportunity to protect the girl child. However, there was a different outcome because culture made it “okay” to harm girls. This is because of the value that is placed on culture in our communities. There was a difficulty in separating the beauty of culture and the harm it can do to women specifically. Henceforth, it was made “okay” for girls to hear certain yet unpleasant things growing up.

Five things that girl children heard growing up

  1. You need to get married because we raised you well enough to get a great bride price
  2. You need to preserve your virginity because the bride price will be high
  3. Children before marriage are not ideal
  4. You need to learn how to cook, clean and wash men love domesticated women
  5. You need to have children

International Day of the girl child

We either heard this from our aunts, mothers and grandmothers. There was no way we could challenge them. Challenging them meant being labelled as the disrespectful one.  

This day is very significant because every stereotype we were exposed to contributes immensely to our lives. It shaped our worldviews and how we relate to the opposite sex. This also directs our feminism.

The values we were raised in are an integral part of us and the unlearning also shapes us. We need to ensure that we are unlearning some of the unhealthy practices we were taught and redefine what it means being a girl child in an evolving society.

Therefore, International Day of the girl child is a significant day. It is significant because we are awarded the opportunity to let girls themselves with our assistance rewrite their stories of what it means to being a girl child NOW!

Source for image: India.com

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