- However there is growing need for empowerment targeted at the boy child to create an environment for all of them to flourish and blossom.
- The gender equality quest is not a zero sum game but a deep desire for good upbringing for both genders.
After years of focus on girl child empowerment there is a growing concern that the boy child is neglected, ignored and left to languish on its own devices.
There has been over focus on girls by the government, non-governmental organisations and other caregivers. Parents are more concerned about the whereabouts of girls in the evenings with boys left to fate and rendered vulnerable. Even political leaders emphasise on education of girls, with boys left to fate. Some end up in illegal labour practices such as boda boda business, others turn to drugs or get depressed as they feel unloved and disenfranchised yet they cannot speak lest they be ridiculed as weak men. No one empathises with them.
Boys who grow up without father figures experience an identity crisis as they miss core masculine aspects needed when growing up. There is a growing concern that we have empowered girls and failed to teach our young men how to deal with the empowered woman. The ramifications of this social disconnect are the suicides, macabre murders, LGBTQ and a failed marriages, which leads to a failed nation. People with trauma traumatise others and make the world a terrible place.
In retrospect, girls have over the years been supported as a measure to counter age-old patriarchal hegemony. A proposition that an empowered girl is a threat to boy child is a ludicrous misconception that must be frowned upon.
However there is growing need for empowerment targeted at the boy child to create an environment for all of them to flourish and blossom. The gender equality quest is not a zero sum game but a deep desire for good upbringing for both genders. Unlike girls, boys stay aloof and are unlikely to ask for help, as they prefer to hide their pent-up emotions.
There has been efforts to help the boy child and rightly so. Kenya's Second Lady Pastor Dorcas Rigathi has been at the forefront to help the downtrodden, godforsaken young men, especially those who are caught in drug addiction. This is a great service to humanity by Dorcas. The society shuns these individuals and treats them like pariahs who deserve excommunication instead of giving them a listening ear. This is a mistake we are doing, a great disservice to the society that we need a paradigm shift to move away from.
Several urgent interventions are needed for the boy child. These include affirmative actions by the government tailor for the boy child, encouraging boys to pursue education, to respect women and not kill their girlfriends, strengthening mentorship in schools and the community, creating jobs for the youth and motivating young men to start business would be a great boon. A spirited fight against drug abuse is also important.
As we celebrate International Men's Day on November 19, we need to think about how we can mitigate the looming boy child crisis. Boys’ neglect is large at home and in society; it is to blame for the mental health issues and drug abuse among boys. Government agencies, well-wishers, private sector and civil society must make necessary investments for the boy child by coming up with initiatives that make a difference for this and future generations.
High school teacher and author