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.