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The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) noted the disadvantages and difficulties faced by women, expressing concern that “the world is gradually being skewed in favor of the rights and future of girls”.
This was in a statement signed by National Vice President/CVP FIDA Nigeria, Amina Suzanah Agbaje to mark International Day of the Girl Child 2022 with the theme “Our time is now – Our rights, our future”.
According to the statement, early marriage, sexual and gender-based violence, lack of educational opportunities, lack of funding, child labor, trafficking, early pregnancy, among other myriad challenges, hinder the girl child.
“Being born a girl in most parts of the world comes with its own drawbacks and difficulties that are increasingly faced by women in a world that is increasingly skewed in favor of the rights and future of the girl child.
“This is especially true when it comes to opportunities for the little girl, who seems to have the game against her and less chance of excelling,” the statement read.
“A glaring constraint is the lack of access to affordable, inclusive and quality education which is a fundamental right. In Nigeria alone, the issues of early marriage, sexual and gender-based violence, lack of educational opportunities, lack of funding, child labor, trafficking, teenage pregnancy, poverty, illiteracy, harmful gender stereotypes, male sexual preferences, insecurity, disabilities, discriminatory laws, entrenched socio-cultural and religious beliefs, economic and political discrimination, are some of the challenges girls face, which are further exacerbated by patriarchy, making the girl a real “threat” in all its ramifications.
“Closely related to the above is the issue of gender inequality and gender discrimination, which are huge social problems facing women everywhere, and an obstacle to human development”, adds the press release.
She said that despite the myriad of challenges that have lifelong consequences for the girl child and society as a whole, the girl child’s ingenuity and resilience are unmatched, proving time and time again that, given the right conditions, opportunities, momentum, the girl-child is a driver of change, changing the narrative towards a better world.
“There has been increased attention and focus on issues that affect girls, but unfortunately this is not actually translating into investments in the well-being and actualization of girls’ rights, with women being continually discriminated against and undervalued –represented in all spheres of society, further aggravated by the progressive increase in humanitarian crises around the world of which girls are most at risk,” she added.
She therefore stressed the importance of the education of the little girl, affirming that it is the cornerstone of all development and the starting point of success, confers the disposition to the acquisition of knowledge.
“The importance of girls’ education cannot be overstated because every child deserves to be educated, regardless of gender, religion or disability, being a fundamental human right recognized by the adoption in 1948 of the Declaration universal human rights.
“It is time to further galvanize, energize and engage stakeholders around the world; government officials, policy makers, other drivers of change, to deeply amplify our voices towards providing a fertile, enabling and safe environment, free from discrimination and filled with opportunities for the girl child to thrive effectively and reach their full potential
“FIDA Nigeria, in addition to the above, also calls for the adoption of non-political measures i.e. change of attitude and perception of gender roles, enlightenment and public awareness on the implications and harms of gender stereotypes and discriminatory practices.
“Let’s join hands to ensure the girl child thrives as she prepares to fulfill her potential and take on the world with the right nudge, the right environment and the platform to effect that change” , she urged.