WEEK 3 LET ME FLY
WEEK 3 LET ME FLY
We all long for a world of equal opportunities for people of both gender, a world devoid of discrimination, oppression and frustrations based on who you are .We all yearn for such happy times when education will not be the prerogative of the special few, but, is free and accessible to all,
Unfortunately, for the girl child in my community, such a world is a tall dream, mere wishful thinking, the figment of the imagination of female idle mind, some erroneously term it.
I am one of the lucky ones that have gone to school .I hold a Master degree Public Administration and now collating data for my Doctorate degree in Political Economy. I attribute this success to my parents who saw the need to educate me and my other siblings irrespective of gender.
Today, I have a lot to show for my parents resolve to educate me, in spite of all barriers.
Unfortunately, there are many girls in my community who cannot afford to dream for a better tomorrow .For some, its ignorance, capsuled in culture and traditions, while for some, its poverty.
The greatest challenge confronting girls in my community accessing education is the culture and tradition that places the girl child less a human being than the male child.
Right from delivery of the girl child, she is faced with gender discrimination. First, is the mother who is literally jeered at for given birth to a baby girl. The baby is referred to as a ‘thing’, not human. When asked of the sex, the answer is ‘it was a miscarriage’! or she has a prostitute. Unfortunately, the insults get so bad, that the mother laments the arrival of her baby, a baby girl!
These are some of the retrogressive comments that later manifest in the life of the girl child when she is denied access to education, a development tool. A popular saying against women in my community, states ‘a woman’s place is in the kitchen’. The life of a woman in my community is tied to how much she can contribute to the family in terms of domestic chores, farm produce and child bearing. What level of self-esteem and values will this mother bequeath to her girl child? What a model for the girl child!
Poverty also hinders girls’ access to education. But, it all boils down to male child preference. A father would rather buy seven goats, bags of sorghum for local brew and some modern alcoholic drinks, to celebrate his son’s passage to adulthood, than to pay his daughter’s fees.
Girls’ education is one of the most effective ways of ending poverty in developing nations. Unfortunately, my community is yet to fully come to terms with the situation which has resulted in early marriage, population expulsion, high infant and child mortality rates, high maternal mortality rates, high HIV/AIDS prevalence and low number of women with jobs and higher earnings.
There has been some improvement in girl child enrolment in primary and secondary school in the past 5 years, but, the dropout rate is still about 40% in secondary schools.
With the community based advocacy put in place, we hope for change, we long for that day when our children will be judged not by their physical characteristics, but, by their abilities and proven integrity.
I AM FIRST A HUMAN BEING, AND THEN A GIRL CHILD…..LET ME FLY.