• A Unesco report suggests educated women are more likely to get married later, survive childbirth, raise healthy kids, find work and earn more money.
• We must create a fair ground for girls to compete with boys in social spheres.
Every year, we join the world in marking the International Day of the Girl Child-a United Nations day to honour girls and was first commemorated on October 11, 2012.
This day increases awareness of gender inequality worldwide. This year’s theme is ‘Empowering Girls for a Brighter Tomorrow’. The focus will be on issues standing in the way of girls’ progress in development, including female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage among many others.
A 2013 report by Unesco found that 31 million girls of primary school age were not enrolled in school and about one out of every four young women in developing countries had not completed their primary school education. That number represents a huge pool of untapped girl power.
The same report suggests that educated women are more likely to get married later, survive childbirth, raise healthy kids, find work and earn more money, among other positives. As we celebrate the girl child today, we have so much to be grateful for women that have fought the odds.
But even as we celebrate, there are various challenges standing in the way of the girl child and must be fully addressed. And resolving them is key for girl child empowerment and emancipation.
Although the education policies in Kenya do not discriminate against girls and women, there is a serious gender disparity in enrolment and transition from one level to the next, especially in rural communities.
While educational challenges can be collectively overcome, many girls in both rural and urban settings face a violation of their human rights as a result of gender-related abuses.
We must create a fair ground and equal opportunities for girls to compete with boys in social spheres.