International Day Of The Girl Child: A Review Of Issues Affecting The Girl Child

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By Barhokah Sanni, Ibadan.

International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated every October 11. The day, just like the international woman’s day which is celebrated on March 8, is designated to acknowledge the power, strength, importance, and ability of adolescent girls.

International Day of the Girl Child empowers and amplifies the voice of the girl child against gender-based challenges like child marriage (with Nigeria having the highest child marriage rate in the world. According to recent data, 75 percent of girls aged under 18 are married, with 36 percent of them being younger than 15 years), violence, discrimination, and Poor Educational opportunities around the world.

The number of out of school children is another alarming issue affecting the Girl Child. 129 million girls are out of school according to UNESCO estimates and in Nigeria, out of the 18.5million out of school children, 60 percent of these out of school children are girls – that is, over 10 million girls are out of school.

A Gender and Development lawyer and Woman rights advocate, Adebola Tolulope Adeoti speaking on the importance of the international day for the girl child stated that the day is important, because it amplify the uniqueness of every girl child across the world, acknowledge their achievement, and discuss the challenges faced by every girl child across the world which bothers down on gender discrimination and violence, sparing a day to celebrate the girl child is reasonable because it’s worth celebrating.

The theme for this year’s aptly named “our time is now-our future, our right” meaning according to UNICEF, “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”.
The theme of this year also means the girl child is now aware of their rights and they are ready to write and create stories of improvement.

Happy International Day of the girl child to Every girl child.

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