Girl child problem
Girl child problem around the world has many dimensions but the root of all kind of discriminations and bias against the girl child lays in the customs, traditions and the typical mindset of the society which looks the girl child and women as inferior beings.
Girl child problem: Treatment of women and girls
Women and girls have been treated in the most inhuman ways if we look back at the last two thousand years of human civilization. This legacy is continuing even today in most parts of the world in one way or the other. Female foeticide, female infanticide, sexual abuse, marginalization in terms of nutrition, healthcare and education, violence against women and bias against women in all spheres of life including the social, political, economic and religious structures of society is a common norm even in today’s world. Women and girls don’t have decision making power of their own life. It is always somebody else who makes decisions for them. Women in many parts of the world don’t even have control of their own body and mind. Her reproductive and sexual rights are also compromised. Let me give some examples in this regard. Female Genital Mutilation is still practiced in many parts of the world. Half of the total sexual assaults in the world are committed against girls age 15 or younger. An adolescent girl is married without her consent and becomes pregnant long before her body is ready. The leading cause of death for girls age 15-19 is complications from pregnancy and annually, two million girls between the ages of five and 15 are forced into the commercial sex market. This is a glimpse of the real world and the girl child problem. Now we can imagine the way women and girls are treated around the world.
Girl child problem: Horrifying statistics
If we will look at the statistics of the girl child problem we would find a systematic genocide being carried against women and girl child. Further the statistics glaringly show how women are discriminated and marginalized in the field of education and gainful employment. The statistics are also testimony to the fact that violence and abuse of women is rampant and in fact growing in all the major parts of the world. Ninety-three million women and girls are “missing” from the world population because of sex-selective abortion, female infanticide, malnutrition, abuse and neglect of girl children. The vast majority of the world’s poor are women and girls. Women and girls are 80% of the world’s refugees. Two-thirds of the world’s illiterates are female. And, of the millions of children kept out of school - 2/3 are girls. Women and the girl child make up for the highest incidences of malnutrition and the exceptionally high rates of malnutrition are rooted deep in the soil of inequality between men and women. Africa has the highest rates of HIV/AIDS transmission in the world and in this explosive situation women are falling prey to this deadly disease. She does not even have a choice because men have unsafe sex with multiple partners, and women lack the power to negotiate if or how sex takes place.
Girl child problem: The perils of gender discrimination
From the above mentioned statistics on girl child problem we can very clearly see that the peril of gender discrimination is going to be very severe on the whole of humanity. There can be no meaningful growth and development when half of the human population is marginalized and discriminated against. Women are the guardians of the future generation and if they are in such pathetic condition wrought by the deliberate bias and discrimination against them then we can imagine the horrific future that is stored for the coming generations.
Girl child problem: The improvised life of a girl child
The girl child lives an improvised life in most parts of the world. She does not get proper care in terms of food and nutrition, healthcare, security and education. For that matter she does not get love and protection from her own immediate family. She is forced into drudgery and house slavery from a very tender age. Whether at home, in factories or in the field, the little girls are always at work. She starts work at a very young age, and works from dawn to dusk, proving the adage “A girl is never a child.” She is not allowed to enjoy the beautiful days of her childhood when it is the ripe time to learn and grow. The girl child is abused sexually and violence against the girl child is a common phenomenon in many societies. In the name of customs, traditions and the typical mindset that exists in the society her body is mutilated and her reproductive and sexual rights are compromised. She is not sent to school. If she goes to school then most of the times she is forced to drop out of school by the age of puberty and she is forcefully married to someone to live a life of misery and slavery.
Girl child problem: The crimes against humanity
Each and every year, millions of sex-selective abortions are performed, virtually always on female foetuses. Infanticide occurs in 17 countries. In India alone, more than 10,000 girl babies are victims of infanticide each year If it doesn’t kill her by infancy, violence is an ever present danger throughout her girlhood and throughout the rest of her life. Female foeticide, infanticide, rape, sexual abuse of the girl child and violence against girl child and women should be considered as the most heinous forms of crime against humanity and strictest forms of punishment should be reserved for the perpetuators. Further all round support should be extended to the victims including physical, psychological, legal and economic care. Apart from enforcement of strict laws it is also necessary to prevent crimes against the girl child through education and communication which promotes gender sensitization and gender based equality.
Girl child problem: The compounded problems of the rural girl child
The rural girl child suffers far more profoundly than her urban counterpart because of lack of education and awareness in the family and society. This girl child problem is further compounded because of the inherent poverty and lack of facilities in the rural background. In this kind of scenario the girl child undergoes a very harsh life from the very beginning of her life. She does not go to school and she does not even have time to play or enjoy her childhood. She is pulled into the vortex of household chores and lives a life of slavery and drudgery. She does not get proper food or nutrition nor does she receive proper healthcare. The sexual abuse and violence against the girl child in these types of circumstances vastly goes unreported and the girl child virtually lives a life that can be called as hell.
Girl child problem: Customs and traditions
Many customs and traditions of our society propagate gender based bias, discrimination and violence. The real reason of the girl child problem stems from these highly deplorable customs and traditions that are practiced in the society. For example the custom of dowry is one of the main reasons for the practice of female foeticide and infanticide. Other customs like the genital mutilation directly assaults the physical self. Then there are customs and traditions which circumscribe the sexual and reproductive rights of women. The pardah systems restrict the freedom of women and the girl child. Child marriage and early marriage curtails her chance for a decent education and in fact compromises her life with problems like premature pregnancy. Custom, culture and tradition are used as justifications for discriminatory and violent treatment against the girl child. This includes early and forced marriage, limited access to education, teenage pregnancy and the consequent impacts on health and education, and social acceptance of violent punishment of children. As a consequence, the situation of the girl child is characterised by a growing incidence of girl children in child labour, higher health risks, including exposure to HIV and AIDS, continued growing rates of teenage pregnancy, low self-esteem and psychological damage among girls. A little girl eats last and least and she is up to three times more likely than boys to suffer malnutrition. She is often not taken to the doctor when she is sick and she is less likely to be immunized. Girls are often kept out of school and put to work. If she does go to school, she’s still at risk.
The girl child problem: The need to change the mindset
The mindset of looking at the girl child as a lesser being, a liability or a property needs to change if we want to address the girl child problem. All the discrimination and bias originate from this kind of regressive approach in the society. Once again the best example is to look at the dowry system which is prevalent in many parts of the world and what kind of havoc it creates on the mindset of potential parents and the society. Potential parents fear the huge dowry burden if they have a girl child and opt for a male child instead. In this regard the male child is seen as an asset who will bring dowry and who shall act as a support system for them in the old age. On the other hand the girl child is seen as a liability that will go to some other house after marriage taking away wealth in the form of dowry. When this kind of mindset sets in potential parents, then it leads to discrimination and bias against the girl child even before her birth and it eventually leads to heinous crimes like female foeticide and infanticide. The other side of the story is that even if the girl child comes into this world she faces a life full of dislike, marginalization and neglect in as many forms as possible.
The girl child problem: Empowerment of girl child benefits the society
Our problem today is that we only see negativity in everything based on certain regressive beliefs, customs and traditions which we are always carrying as an old baggage. This is so true for the girl child problem and discrimination and bias against the girl child. If we change our outlook and look at the other side then we can see the immense benefits and contributions that a girl child can make to the society. An empowered girl child becomes an educated, employed, confident, assertive and empowered woman in the future and a strong woman then becomes a supportive pillar for the nurturing and growth of the next generation of humanity. It creates a positive cycle which is beneficial for the individual, the family, the society, the nation and the world. We should also acknowledge the reality that girls cannot advance without the advancement of women and no improvement in women’s lives will be sustained unless girls have education, good health and the opportunity to achieve their potential. So empowerment of women and girls are mutually inclusive and supportive phenomenon and it has the greatest overall positive effect on the health and well-being of a society. This happens because of various factors which include decreased population growth, faster economic growth, less corruption in governance, increased agricultural production, more children in school, reduced health hazards, lower childhood malnutrition and lower child mortality.
The girl child problem: All round girl child empowerment
All round girl child empowerment is only possible if we work at the grass root level and educate the society and root out regressive mindsets, customs and traditions in the society which are against the girl child. For this individuals, social organizations, government and other structures of the society should come together and initiate viable programmes at the grass root level. Only then we can think of all round girl child empowerment and solution to the girl child problem. Various action plans for percolating all round girl child empowerment in the grass root levels of the society include the following
1. For woman to receive a loan, her daughters must be in school.
The girl child problem: Working with the girl child
Finally to empower the girl child we need to work with the girl child and understand the needs of the girl child in terms of her nutrition, healthcare and education. By doing so we shall contribute in making a strong and assertive individual for the future who shall contribute immensely towards the efforts of building a just and equitable society based on holism and unification of purpose. Further we must also understand that there is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls. No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, lower infant and maternal mortality, improve nutrition and promote health – including helping to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. We must accept the fact that girls' education is perhaps the single most important investment a developing country can make for all round prosperity as well as for solving the girl child problem.
Today we know what the world looks like with half of its population devalued – with half of its population treated as inferior and insignificant. On the other hand we truly don’t have a clue what the world would look like if girls and women could express themselves and be “everything they can be.” At a minimum, we would live in a more peaceful and humane world: a world with greater social justice, economic progress, lower population growth and better health.
Article by Sanjay Nair
Once in a month synopsis of all new page additions:
We are adding 30 new pages to this site every month which covers topics related to Awakening the feminine, Feminism, Women in religion, Matriarchy, Women empowerment, Girl child, Mother earth news, Understanding men, Friends & relationships, Self discovery, Kali, Project-9 & Women’s power, Art & Science, Dance & Music, Women’s fashion, Women’s sexuality, Women’s health & fitness, Women & marriage, Rape, Prostitution and Drug abuse.
Please subscribe to the “once in a month synopsis of all new page additions” so that you can keep abreast with the latest additions on this site. Further this will also help you to revisit the site and study the details of the “topic of your interest”. Please note that the subscribing facility is available in all other WebPages featuring in this site and you need to subscribe “only once” and thereafter ignore this message in all other WebPages. To know more about us click on the "The Team" page.
The authors are not responsible for any contents linked or referred to from his or her pages-unless he has full knowledge of illegal contents and would be able to prevent the visitors of his site from viewing those pages. If any damage occurs by the use of information presented there, only the author of the respective pages might be liable, not the one who has linked to these pages. Furthermore the authors are not liable for any postings or messages published by users of discussion boards, guest books or mailing lists provided on the "rise of womanhood" page. The authors are not psychiatrists or physician/medical doctors or legal attorneys of any sort. This website is not intended to replace medical, psychiatric or legal care. Please seek professional attention as needed. The information provided is not intended to replace obtaining medical evaluations and health care advice from qualified health care providers. This site's owner is providing information for reference only, and do not intend said Information to be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions, or for any other purposes. The owner/authors of this site MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF SAID INFORMATION, OR THE FITNESS OF THE INFORMATION TO BE USED FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, LOSS, EXPENSE, OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND TO USER, OR TO ANY THIRD PARTY, RELATED TO THE USE OF SAID INFORMATION. Persons accessing any information of this web site, directly or indirectly, assume full responsibility for the use of the Information and understand and agree that the authors of rise-of-womanhood.org website is not responsible or liable for any claim, loss, or damage arising from the use of said information.
Back to main page: