#InternationalDayOfTheGirlChild: how we can help her survive this unfair world

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#InternationalDayOfTheGirlChild: I have always had this idea that girls are endangered, even by the very forces of nature. It may sound ridiculous to say girls need to be educated for humanity to survive, but this is the simple truth.

Imagine a girl born on the streets; she is different from a boy born on the streets. The various transitions she has to go through all require great care: sanitation and health checks for the girl child is not an option. From puberty, to adolescence and adulthood, girls are exposed to health hazards. Yet, in cases of extreme poverty and crises, the world does not excuse them.

In wars, the girl child is bundled along through swamps, dirt and traumatic circumstances. There are girls whose only piece of sanitation during their menstrual cycle are empty carton boxes.  When the family of a girl is too poor to buy sanitary pads, this does not stop her body from functioning as it should.

The girl child is objectified from birth. In times of disaster and extreme poverty, the girl child is no less in danger of predators. In fact, being poor and being a girl is a double dose of vulnerability. In the kind of world we have, poverty does not discriminate between the boy or the girl child. Yet the girl child is often exposed to the most detrimental lifestyles like Street Hawking. While she is pushed by the irresponsibility of society and family into child labour, the sexual predator awaits her on every corner.

Education also does not discriminate. It’s commonly said that education is the leveller that opens opportunity to everyone and anyone. Yet, for the girl child, there is even more chances that she will not be given a shot at education in some parts of the world. Education is an opportunity that would probably improve the lot of girls in an increasingly unfair society but we are still struggling to accept female education as a norm. We know education is no longer cheap, even more for the girl child because after money, backward society has a thousand reasons for her not to get an education.

The Girl child is a potential woman, a mother who raises another child. But the imbalance of society peddles her as less valuable, so we ignore her plight. We ignore the dangers of gender based violence, health complications, lack of quality sanitation, and the dangers of vulnerable girls who are denied education.

Today, is #InternationalDayOfTheGirlChild. Today, we don’t just celebrate that girls are born, but we hope to promote awareness about the struggles that girls face in extreme circumstances. The crisis and poverty in society does not empathise with the physical, mental and emotional struggles that the girl child experiences. Rather society joins hands with nature in many cases to make life unbearable for the girl child. It’s not this simple but we hope you get the idea and start to treat girls with more value and care than they get presently.

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