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It Always Starts With Girls

Although a lot is being done in different parts of the world to break the barriers hindering the education of the girl child, there remains yet a lot to be done, bearing in mind that it is the girl that becomes the woman. When we consider the problems women face in different societies today, a lot of these can be traced to lack of self worth due to the mould society has successfully created for women.

In several parts of my country, the role of the woman is said to be confined to the kitchen. Women are 'to be seen never heard'. Women are not supposed to contribute to discussions. Every girl knows this and any girl that goes contrary to the norm is said to not have been well taught. With the kitchen end in view, most families regard sending girls to school as a waste of time and resources. Especially in the North, the very 'fortunate' ones get to attend Junior Secondary School.

There remains an aspect that we however often neglect. It is vey sad that even many of the girls don't want to go to school. They have been brainwashed to believe they can't do what men do. I served as a teacher in a girls's school in the North some 4 years ago. I found out the girls were more eager to get married than to futher their education. This gave me a lot of comcern. Only few of them responded to my advice for them to aspire to be greater. They had no aspiration other than to get married as their mates who did not go to the secondary school already had children and considered these ones overdue. It was a kind of stigma to insist on studying when you'll only end up raising chidren.

This lack of education and early marriage often lead to birth complications such as VVF, sexually transmitted diseases and even HIV/AIDS as the men marry more than one wife.

It is therefore important to work on the pysche of women as these 'values' are often enforced by women. We need to focus on making education compulsory for girls and make sure they get equal opportunities as boys because the challenges of womanhood usually start from girlhood.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Dana Anderson's picture

Inspire Girls

I am so impressed by your insight into the challenges of education for women! How tragic that women themselves often do not seek the benefits of education and in fact contribute to the problem. The example of empowered, educated women (like yourself) stands as a stark contrast to those who have little desire to break from the single path allowed to them by our societies.

I enjoyed the personal element of your writing, as I myself taught girls in similar circumstances in India and found your description of their attitudes and situations very familiar. This is truly a global challenge that can be solved if we come together as one community and contribute our ideas.

Thank you for your writing, your insightful take on the problem and for the solution that you offer: "It is therefore important to work on the pysche of women as these 'values' are often enforced by women"


dewemmix's picture

Thank u, Dana. We should also

Thank u, Dana. We should also remember its not a problem we can solve in a short while. Having this in mind will strengthen us so we don't get discouraged in this challenging task.

If we continue to talk about this and work on the girls in our communities, setting ourselves up as role models and mentors, we shall, in due course see the change we desire.

CeXochitl's picture

Very specific information

I learned quite a bit via your article! It appears that cultural values, in your opinion, is the largest factor in limiting girl's education. If the government were to make education for girls compulsory, would the families support it? How do you think the new law would be enforced?

Very interesting article!

mikabo's picture

VOF Listener

Well said dewemmix.
You have identified some of the most pressing reasons why we must educate girls. It is evident, when looking at the results of this kind of oppression, that communities pay an enormous cost for the enforced dependency of their women and girls. What a shame and a waste of valuable potential.

There is another hidden cost as well, that being the Gross National Happiness of a nation is greatly reduced when women are treated like slaves or in any way inferior to men. Without the happiness that comes with equal opportunity, not only the women suffer but also the children and, by extension, the men. So everyone loses in this game!

Thank you for your essay and for sharing your informed opinions.

Kind regards,


Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti's picture

Reading Response

A good reflection on the roadblocks and limits facing women and girls in Nigeria, particularly when you point to the reality that many girls themselves do not advocate for education. You note that the push cannot only be top-down; girls, women and educators have to fight for themselves. It is compelling to recognize that a cultural shift has taken place within an entire generation of women than to have one or two powerful, beautiful voices. Both are important, but only the first makes real, substantive change.

Thank you for writing! Thank you for sharing your voice!
All the best,

yvonnegemandze's picture

My comments

Thank you very much for posting your journal on World Pulse. Your thoughts and observations in your school in Nigeria are simply true and they as well reflect other African communities. Thank you for posting the problems girls in you school are facing and also for trying to help in your own little way by trying to advise them to pursue education. Your recommendations are also very practical. We hope that, one day girls in that community will begin to appreciate the importance of education.

Please keep posting such wonderful journals..

Yvonne Riwuya Gemandze
Chief Administrative Officer and Researcher
Center for Independent Development Research, Cameroon
Junior Chamber International (JCI) Cameroon National Vice President
+237 70212069

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