Empowering The Girl child
In my involvement with the girl child, I have encountered various challenges in the quest for their empowerment. Nevertheless, I have never given up on a child because I believe that we as women are the real architects of society. The woman and girl child for that matter face a couple of challenges especially in their quest for an education. Problems faced range from cultural practices, legal matters, societal injustices and even personal issues.
Gender Based Violence: Our African cultures have always undermined women by not allowing their direct engagement in certain matters of society. Changing times have seen women venture into fields considered masculine and even various morality issues have led to improper communication, arrogance and unstable families. Physical and emotional abuse therefore becomes women rampant. Violent husbands, rogue children and other communal hazards have adverse effects on women who always bear the blames. Sexual abuse, including rape, exploitation and enticement also become common. In order to curb this, I have been enlightening women about their roles in society and training them on basic self defense, public campaigns and a value addition plan to help in communication and early warnings. Education, information and awareness campaigns to highlight basic rights have transformed mentalities and ensured that mechanisms are put in place for legal redress.
Equity and Inequality: Most women and girls do not enjoy freedom and comfort in various sectors. They are discriminated against and considered inferior in terms of employment opportunities, leadership positions, and even domestic roles. Affirmative action still remains their source of hope. We have been enhancing involvement and inclusion by promoting gender equity, capacity coaching and equal representation in all sectors by advancing and vouching for women as able beings and with ability to become productive in society.
Economic Deprivation: Limited opportunities for women and poor academic participation combined with motherhood and parenting still form a basis for depriving women an opportunity to become self sustaining. Rural women are greatly affected by poverty since they lack basic facilities such as electricity and telephones. In cases of floods, they cannot access food unless they receive intermittent food aid. Depending on husbands for upkeep at times leads to differences which force women into prostitution or sexual enticements for other favors and more so where poverty is high. We have been promoting women empowerment by engaging them in income generating activities such as mat sewing, bead making and artistic activities whereby they get to sell what they make and can be able to earn a living.
Culture: Dangerous and violent practices which can rarely be avoided by women are conducted. Female genital mutilation, forced and early marriages and other preformed rituals are challenges faced by most African women. These vices prevent women and girls from accessing education as compared to their male counterparts. We have been trying to enlighten societies that still perform such vices against practicing them.
Lack of role models: Many women lack mentors who can boost their morale and confidence especially in the education setup. This has led to low self-esteem issues in girls. Mentors play major roles personally and professionally. They impart knowledge, skills and advice. In order to curb this, we have identified successful women in society who share their experiences and assist the women and growth in personal and career development. They have been of considerable profit in career development.
Insecurity: Females are more prone to insecurity issues like trafficking and robbery. This vulnerability has instilled fear of traversing some routes especially in search of education for it is not safe. There has been a record of girl child trafficking and most of them end up in slavery in foreign lands. Campaigns for security and legal intervention have been evolved to prevent such vices.
In conclusion, we by all means to curb societal vices that prevent women and girls from accessing vital information and opportunities and my daily prayer is that through God, we will be able to fulfill my purpose and passion.