By Nancy (Chinelo) Udenka on International Day of the Girl Child, October 11th
In most parts of the world, parents love their sons more than daughters, they seem to have the perception that more investments should be put into the males because of course, they would carry on the family name and legacy. Even in marriages, where the woman has no respect nor value unless she gives birth to a son. The preference of the male child over the females has also contributed largely to menace of gender inequality, decline in girl child education, and socioeconomic disparities.
This ideology is propagated by certain cultural beliefs, illiteracy, societal restrictions, religion and emotional desires, male dominance as only ones in charge of family income, perceived weakness that females can’t attain certain positions, amongst many others.
I grew up in a family of seven (Parents, three sisters, and a brother). I’m the last child with my twin sister, and was told mum wanted a second son, but oh well, she had two more girls and twins at that, how funny. My parents actually didn’t obviously make a preference over my only brother, maybe to protect “our feelings” or not. However, we got equal education, resources, and support. This may have worked for me, but not for others. I once had a friend whose case was the reverse, it affected her upbringing, damaged her self-esteem, and created a barrier to discovering her true self and abilities. It hindered her ability to explore, to crown it all; she got married early- this is a story of a million others. In Africa, especially in the western part, research has proven records of a high prevalence of child marriage prior to her physical and/or emotional growth. Not ignoring the fact, they get pregnant and have to experience child labor, and risk of complications during delivery, overall negative impact on their mental wellness, and sexual and reproductive health.
The future of the girl child as an endangered species amongst her male counterparts and sadly, even her fellow counterparts, must be protected at all costs. It’s high time we stopped distributing sweets only when a baby boy is born and frowning when a girl is born. Time to put a halt to uttering coated sarcasm “this is a rare thing for a girl to achieve” when a change in a chain of cycles is encountered. It shouldn’t be considered a deviance that a daughter can do the job of a son.
The Girl Child Time To Rule Her World Is Now or Never
Now the narrative is changing, no longer shall our voices go unheard. Every girl has the right to attain greatness and harness her full potential, there should be no limitations as to what level she should stop.
- •Days when the girl child isn’t recognized:
- •Days when the girl child shouldn’t be educated:
- •Days when the girl child shouldn’t be in power:
- •Days when the girl child is voiceless:
- •Days when the girl child’s roles were only limited to marriage and childbearing:
- •Days when the girl child future ends in the kitchen:
- •Days when the girl child isn’t allowed to dream big:
We must instead look on the bright side and embrace this beautiful astonishment, that is, the power of a girl child.
>We, the daughters are stronger than the world thinks.
>>Stronger than our parents think.
>>>Even much stronger than we think of ourselves.
- We shouldn’t let criticism stop us from reaching the top, and allow nobody to make us feel inferior without our own consent.
I’m excited as to the adverse change going on in the lives of girls, campaigns bursting out to promote girl child education to let her dream big and fly without limitations. There is great need for a strategic alliance among individuals, educational bodies, private entities, as well as national and international bodies, to properly tackle this issue. Social media platforms can serve as aid for promotions, campaigns to create awareness and raise a call of action.
“With adversity, however, comes resourcefulness, creativity, tenacity, and resilience. The world’s 600 million adolescent girls have shown time and time again that given the skills and the opportunities, they can be the changemakers driving progress in their communities, building back stronger for all, including women, boys and men.
Girls are ready for a decade of acceleration forward. It is time for us all to stand accountable – with and for girls – and to invest in a future that believes in their agency, leadership and potential.” (UNITED NATIONS)
I’m very passionate about teen girls, with focus on their mental health, sexual and reproductive health. Both of these areas are de-emphasized and not well addressed. Parents shy away from proper conversation about sex, educative institutions doesn’t promote abstinence and the environment doesn’t preach about preventive measures as it should. This has led to increase in teenage pregnancies, school drop out of teen girls, socioeconomic inequalities, increased poverty amongst other negative impacts.
I am an advocate of the United Nations SDG 3.7 target plan with more focus on the indicator 3.7.2 Adolescent birth rate (aged 10–14 years; aged 15–19 years) per 1,000 women in that age group, as well as SDG 5.3 target plan, emphasis on the Indicator 5.3.1 Proportion of women aged 20–24 years who were married or in a union before age 15 and before age 18.
Through my organization TEMI, we’ll keep striving to encourage workshops, campaigns, outreaches and open discussions to tackle this menace. You too can be part of this movement by engaging in community development programs, empowering young girls, volunteering, and donations.
About The Author:
Nancy (Chinelo) Udenka
Teenage Moms Initiate (TMI)
I am Nancy Udenka, founder of Teenage Mom Initiative and I celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child. A Physiologist, Medical doctor (in view) at Shenyang Medical College, MPH (one of my goals) Health scholar and an adent Mental Health advocate on a mission to acquire prominent leadership skills in emergency responses, and first-hand experience in research and operations.
I hold Bachelor’s Degree in Physiology, General from Anambra State University. Community Volunteer on Health at Nigerian Red Cross Society. Certified by LinkedIn in Customer Experience Leadership, and Customer Service: Managing Customer Expectations, and Customer Service: Problem Solving and Troubleshooting. And Customer Service Representative Certificate by Alison.
A philanthropist and exponent towards mental health among teenage mothers.
- Founder, TEM Initiative
- Content creator @Youtube
- Public speaker
- Co-founder NANPAT MD Limited
You will find Nancy where they are talking about; The United Nations Sustainable Development Group initiatives, Venereal Health, Public Speaking, Teen Mental Health, and Reproductive Health.