A girl-child is a brilliant human being but in many cultures and societies across the world, a girl-child is denied her basic needs and human rights. Her survival is being threatened by many factors such as abuse, exploitation and many other harmful practices which hinder her ability to achieve her goals in life. Girl-child are vulnerable in many ways which made it necessary to have a set of measures that will further protect them in the society.
The girl-child is one of the 12 critical areas in the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, which recommends elimination of all forms of discrimination and abuse of girls and protection of their rights.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989, sets forth the basic human rights of children, usually those under 18 years of age. These rights include nondiscrimination; the right to survival and development of potential; protection from harmful influences, abuses and exploitation; and full participation in family, cultural and social life. The convention also spells out some human rights violations that are unique to the girl-child, including discrimination based upon sex, prenatal sex selection, female genital mutilation and early marriage.
Despite all the efforts of government and other organizations to end such violence against girls with education, financial support and awareness campaigns, it’s still far from the finish line as violence against girls child still continues.
Available indicators reveal that girls are discriminated against from the earliest stages of life in the areas of nutrition, health care, education, family care and protection. Girls are often less fed and denied health care which tampers with their growth because they are not seen as important as the male child.
An estimated 101 million children worldwide — the majority of whom were girls — did not attend primary schools (UNICEF; 2010). They are denied basic education because of the mentality that men should have more access to education than them. They are also more likely to be used as child labour inside and outside of homes. Their worth is not something everyone sees even though they cover half of the population in the world.
There are many benefits in investing in a girl-child; healthier homes, lower mortality rate, poverty alleviation and economic improvement among many others. Educating a girl-child is a step towards achieving gender equality.
The importance of a girl-child can’t be over emphasize because they constitute about half of the world population. Awareness programmes should continue to flourish as it’s one of the major ways to change the way in which the society sees a girl-child.